Author Topic: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else  (Read 3975 times)

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Mikayla

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2012, 03:47:30 PM »
If you really want to help, give them a gift card or a check as a "yearly bonus."  I don't think it's right to call the electric company regarding someone else's account.

Not only is it off to do something like this, I can't imagine the electric company would even confirm the account exists without some kind of identifying info, like SS# or whatever.  Even cable companies do this.

So I agree with taking the "bonus" approach.

oceanus

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2012, 04:30:05 PM »
Thanks for all the excellent feedback.  I enjoy how these threads often prompt a person to consider different perspectives and angles.

First of all, I received an email from DF earlier today.  She decided not to do anything, and trusted that if they are having serious problems they would make some arrangements with the electric company.  I agreed, and told her that it’s not something she should get involved in.

After reading the comments, I decided to try something.  I haven’t had to call utility companies in quite a while.  I was curious as to how much information they will give via phone.  So, I called the electric company and followed the automated prompts.

“Please punch in your account number or the 10 digit telephone number associated with the account.”
(I punched in my phone number.)
“For balance or payment information, press 1.”  There were several other options, including speaking to a representative.  I pressed 1 and was told my balance and date/amount of the last payment.

I tried the same thing for gas and cable companies.  However, each of those asked for an account number or last 4 digits of SSN prior to giving a balance or payment information.

Interesting.

Anyway – yes, her heart is in the right place, but I don’t think she should get involved in their financial issues. 


SamiHami

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2012, 04:52:44 PM »
While I agree with the PPs regarding privacy, etc. I have to say that your friend sounds like a very kind and generous person.  :)

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CookieChica

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2012, 06:07:45 PM »

I think it is very unlikely that the electricity company would provide any information to your friend unless she took down the account number (and then only if she pretended to be the account holder).  She could send a cheque with the name and address of the account holder which would get posted to the account but without the account number it would be manually processed so probably would not be there before the 28th.

Great point. I tried to pay my bill over the phone after we got a disconnect door hanger (yes, I suck) and didn't have my account number or the account holder's SS number. I was astonished when I was told there was absolutely no way to pay without one of those.

Surianne

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2012, 09:10:18 PM »
I agree with the previous posters who said your friend sounds very well-meaning.  However I also agree that the best way to handle it is to continue to employ the cleaners' services, and to give a cash bonus if you want to do something for the holidays.  Trying to pay their bill is a kind though, but fraught with complications, and the possibility of embarrassing them.

Bijou

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Re: Wants to pay electric bill for someone else
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2012, 11:45:54 PM »
I agree that it is out of line to contact the electric company and try to pay it anonymously.  For one thing she doesn't know why it is outstanding.  And they may have paid it, may have made arrangements to pay it or whatever other plans they may have in place.  And, imagine having a bill paid by someone not knowing who paid it.  I would feel so uncomfortable knowing that someone had found out personal information about me and acted on it behind my back.  It would feel degrading and honestly I would not appreciate that, at all.
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