‘I trusted what they were telling me’: a student’s frustration with Direct Energy

Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press

LETHBRIDGE – Fighting to get her Direct Energy refund has been a seven month battle for Ashleigh Ahlstrom.

The 20-year-old claims she has yet to receive the $121 refund promised after cancelling her services in April.

The energy giant was charged on Wednesday by the Alberta government for violating fair business practices for its customers. One of those charges was failing to refund a deposit within 15 days after cancellation.

READ MORE: Alberta charges Direct Energy with failing to cancel contract, give refund

“It is really frustrating, I trusted what they were telling me and nothing ever happened,” said Ahlstrom.

The third-year University of Lethbridge student had registered with Direct Energy after deciding to rent her own home for the first time. When the school year was coming to an end, she gave one months notice to cut her utility services, because she was moving back home to Calgary for the summer. She then received a note on her last bill telling her she would be getting a $121 refund.

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In June, she called the company after no cheque ever showed up in the mail, and was told she would have the money soon. After a couple months went by and still no refund, she contacted them again, and was told they would not resend the cheque because it was already in the mail.

She sent a detailed email to their complaints department and received a letter thanking her for the feedback and asking for additional information in order to make changes to her account.

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“I trusted them since April, so I just gave up, because it is just defeating when no one listens to you,” added Ahlstrom.

In a statement Direct Energy said:

After an internal investigation it was discovered that the cheque was sent to the customer’s previous address. We will correct this situation with Ms. Ahlstrom as soon as possible, and the agent has been retrained on this procedure. Direct Energy apologizes to Ms. Ahlstrom for her inconvenience.

After Global News contacted the company on Thursday afternoon, Ahlstrom said they called her twice to try and rectify the issue.

“I think having them call me twice because they knew I was going to speak to the media, really shows how they are conducting their company,” she said.

She says the address she listed for a refund is the same address Direct Energy mailed their response to her emailed complaint, which she received promptly.

“If it was an address issue, why did they not contact me when they realized it was an address issue,” she said.

As she waits for the new refund, she is concerned others are still waiting on their repayment cheques, and encourages them to also speak out.

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