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Utility companies and "proof of identification"

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I closed on my house yesterday and tried to transfer over the utilities under my name today. Water was a piece of cake, all they wanted was my name and new address.

Electric I hit a wall with. The answering machine put me through all the prompts and once it said it was transferring me to a rep I got disconnected. I'm guessing they're still dealing with the power outages all across Ohio, but still, this is no way to treat a customer.

Now Gas... First they ask for my SSN, which I am uncomfortable handing out without a good reason, but I hesitantly give it up. Next they ask me to fax a photocopy of my SSN card and my drivers license. Now this sounded extremely fishy to me. So I asked if I could personally show up at one of their offices and have my identity verified there without them having to keep a copy of my information. Nope, apparently they don't have an office. Then I said, well surely you have some office. Nope... Mailing address? After much deliberation she told me that the company's offices are in Pennsylvania and that I couldn't just walk over, which made me raise an eyebrow. I said, fine, I'll drive over. And she said, no you can't do that and that I only have two options, either fax the info, or not have gas service. I then asked if I could have a copy of their policies mailed to me so that I could verify this strange requirement. She said she would not send me anything. I then asked her if there was a web page that she could point me to outlining the company's policies. No, she wasn't going to do anything for me. I was about to ask her for her manager but she hung up on me.

Not only was she literally demanding my personal info, but she was demanding that I send it to some faceless entity to a fax number that I could not find was linked to the gas company, refused to show me any evidence that my personal information was required as their company's policy, and on top of that she was outright rude.

Also I have a co-worker who recently bought a house as well, same gas and electric company, and he had no such hoops to jump through to get his gas hooked up, and I have never had a utility company ask for so much personal information just to verify identity. Am I mistaken or does this sound off? Personally I think it's a huge liability to have photocopies of my drivers license and SSN card floating around and it's just asking for identity theft.
post #2 of 8
Wow we just bought a house in July and we didnt have that problem.
We had problems with the Electric bill and complained again today.
We got a very high bill but they said it was a compter mistake.
They are asking you for way to much.
Sounds fishy to me.
post #3 of 8
I had to ID myself only by my driver's license. I know it's for my own protection to prevent someone else putting utilities in my name and then bailing on payment BUT IMO, that amount of info is EXCESSIVE
Maybe you could contact your state's Public Utilities Commission for assistance. here in CA, it's free and all the utilities shake in their boots when you mention PUC!!! My experience with the PUC is that they are friendly and willing to help...
Even hospitals require only the last 4 digits of the social these days...
post #4 of 8
I think they're not telling you the whole story. When I moved to phoenix I was asked for the same type of information (however they ahve offices here). They run a credit check on you and if you have bad credit you have to pay a deposit. Record keeping like faxing info sounds to me like requirements for the credit check in case of an audit.
post #5 of 8
My friend moved here from New Orleans, the girl at the gas company was such a jerk to him. She insisted that a N.O. driver's license was not valid, and was asking for a ton of information as well. He went 'round and 'round with them. I'm not sure how it was resolved, but I know he was toying with the idea of getting a hot plate!
post #6 of 8
never had those issues, my guess you found a new person on the job.
post #7 of 8
photo copies? um no way...
post #8 of 8
In some states its illegal for a company to ask for a photo copy of your drivers license.
And a copy of SS#-no way!!
They must have a website with some info??
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