May 11, 2009,
V.E. asks from Lansing, MI on May 08, 2009
Consumers Energy Help
Does anyone know if Consumers Energy can legally put an unpaid account balance from a closed account opened in one name onto an active open account under a different name and both accounts are for the same house location? Here's the story, my ex-husband and I lived at the same address and the divorce was finalized on 10/09/2008 with the gas and electric account opened in my ex-husband's name years ago. My ex moved out of the home on 11/30/2008 and was supposed to close the account that was in his name and pay the balance on the gas and electric bill. I then opened a gas and electric account under my name because my ex no longer lived at the home and was not responsible for the gas and electric charges effective 12/01/2008, plus I didn't want to leave the gas and electric account open in his name because he is an evil, cruel man and I was afraid he would have the gas and electric service disconnected on me and my children just to be mean. Plus, I would not be able to legally open any mail that came to the home addressed in his name only. Well, he did not close the account and did not pay the balance on the bill and Consumer's Energy stated the account that was opened in my name was a new account for my ex and billed me for his charges. I don't think this is legal but Consumer's Energy is fighting me over this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
So What Happened?™
Thank you to all for the responses. I did send my issue to the State Attorney General's Office and let me tell you that got an immediate response from Consumers Energy. I also sent my issue to the Lansing State Journal and the state Public Service Commission. Consumers Energy did take the ex's charges off my bill. They did it quickly too but I did have to supply them with numerous documented proof that those charges belonged to the ex and were not mine. It is amazing how cooperative Consumers Energy is when the Attorney General's office gets involved.
I'm still battling with the ex over his non-compliance with the divorce decree and will probably do so for a long time. I thought I was rid of him when the divorce was final but sadly, I was mistaken. But, each day is a different day and hopefully a better day.
C.B. answers from Detroit on May 09, 2009
Something similar happened to my son. He and girlfriend broke up, electricity acct was in her name. He told her to terminate the acct, she didn't. I can't remember if he got stuck with it or managed to convince her to pay it and cancel it. The one who's name it's in is responsible. But whoever is left behind living where the electricity is running is the one who gets shafted.
Did you call Consumer's Energy? I'd also ask the attorney who represented you.
C.E. answers from Detroit on May 08, 2009
Unfortunatly they can do that....you were legally married and both living in the house prior to getting a divorce. They look at it as a form of fraud and there are people out there who do it all the time, especially with their cable bills. The only thing that may save you is IF you had it listed in court papers that was his debt and you were not responsible for it.
Good luck, I know it's a pain. I chaulked up the $20K my ex ran up to as the cost of getting rid of him and gues what...he new wife has the headaches now!
R.W. answers from Jackson on May 09, 2009
I'm thinking all they did was transfer the old account from your ex's name into your name instead of closing the old account and starting a new one.
I would go down to the Consumers Building with your divorce papers in hand and show them that you are not responsible for the bills after that date.
M.P. answers from Grand Rapids on May 10, 2009
Hi V. - did the divorce paper work indicate that HE would be responsible for these bills - done by a lawyer?? if so, then you should not have to pay this - all you should have to do is produce a copy of the paper work showing the responsibility. If the legal paper work doesn't say anything about this - then you may have to pay it - or pay half of it and insist that they bill him for the rest. it can surely be a sticky deal and I totally know where you are coming from. I am so sorry! things will get better!! I hope you get some good advice, maybe from a lawyer mommie!!
C.M. answers from Detroit on May 09, 2009
Hopefully you have it all in writing in your divorce papers. Take them a copy.
C.R. answers from Detroit on May 11, 2009
This happened to me also, and yes they can do it. They even turned by gas off twice in the winter because I couldn't catch up. Ours wasn't even the same address.
M.P. answers from Detroit on May 10, 2009
The account in your husband's name had his social security number on the account. Since you have a separate social security account number I would think that would be "your out".
Consumers needs to go after your husband. I wouldn't let this go. Also, if you want to take it a step further, contact one of the local news stations, specifically their troubel shooter report and let them know what is going on. I have had great success with these people. Consumers wouldn't want any bad publicity.
S.W. answers from Lansing on May 11, 2009
Sorry to say, but yes they can. Same last name, same address, they can put the bills together. If you were married at the time of his account balance you are responsable for the bill too, unless you have court documents that state other wise, then you would have to take them into the office and speak with a supervisor about it.
C.S. answers from Detroit on May 08, 2009
This happened to me too! Were you legally divorced when the bill was put in your name and is it in writing some where that he was to pay that bill? If either is no then you might have to pay it. You may have to chalk it up as lesson learned. Get EVERYTHING in writing even the things that seem petty. You should call your lawyer and see if there is anything that can be done. I ended up having to pay a bill from a house I never even lived in with my ex because he never paid the bill but we were still legally married and there was nothing in our agreement that stated he was to pay his own bills at the seperate residence! Good luck!