How do you notify cut-off accounts?
Recently, in one of the listservs I subscribe to, the question was asked about how other utilities notify customers after they have been disconnected for non-payment. I found that to be an intriguing question, because it’s not one I’ve heard asked before.
A few responses answered how they notify accounts that are subject to being cut off, but only one other response directly addressed notifying customers after they have been cut off.
My observation has been that utilities do one of two things to let a customer know they have been cut off – leave a door hangar or do nothing at all.
Do you have a legal obligation?
Some states require a utility to leave a door hangar, or other notice, alerting a customer that their service has been disconnected. Other utilities feel that it’s a good customer service policy to leave a door hangar.
If you do leave a door hangar and it can be distinguished from a door hangar you would leave for any other reason, you may want to consult with your attorney. I know of one utility that used a brightly colored door hangar for disconnects and a white one for all others. They were sued for a privacy act violation and, as part of the settlement, agreed to use a white door hangar for all situations.
In the other camp are utilities trying to avoid potential confrontations with angry customers. These utilities simply have the service technician terminate the service and move on to the next account on the cut-off list without any further notification.
After all, you’ve let the customer know they are in jeopardy of being cut off, either with a second notice or on the original bill, so what more notice should you provide them?