Help “Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from Penn Credit Corporation- a debt collection service- claiming that I had 30 days to pay my outstanding debt to Pepco”


“Dear PoPville,

I recently moved to the country and am not quite sure how to proceed with issues like this….

I called Pepco in May to turn on electric service in my apartment, which is B102. Somehow, someone at Pepco ended up putting two apartments worth of service in my name- B102 and C102. I do not live in C102, and I never indicated that I did. I think it was probably just a mistype or other issue on their end.

I started getting bills for both apartments, and called Pepco many, many, many times to let them know that they had the wrong person for apartment C102. Each time a rep told me the problem was fixed, but I kept getting bills. Meanwhile, I continued to make on time payments for my apartment’s electric service.

When I called in August, after getting 4 months of bills for this wrong apartment, the rep let me know that there was “an investigation open in my name regarding this apartment”. This was crazy to me, since I don’t live in apartment C102 (although I’m sure whoever does has been enjoying months of free electric). I had to fax them a copy of my lease to prove that I did not live there and I have never lived there. I faxed the lease in August and was told everything would be taken care of.

Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from Penn Credit Corporation- a debt collection service- claiming that I had 30 days to pay my outstanding debt to Pepco. For the apartment that I don’t live in. I cannot believe this is still going on and now am genuinely concerned it is going to affect my credit. The mistake was wholly on Pepco’s end- someone incorrectly put an account in my name and now refuses to take my name off that account. No one at customer service seems to be able to help, and I’m not sure where to go from here. Is there something I can do besides keep calling and file a formal complaint? Has anyone been in a similar situation in the past? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you kindly in advance!!”

44 Comment

  • file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Services:
    I went through hell with Washington Gas and it took OCS to get the utility to fix the problem.

    • +1 – Pepco didn’t bill us (new condo) for months then tried to charge us a “deposit” for failure to pay our bill (even though it was documented how many times we called trying to get billing set up.) Good luck!

      • Thanks for the tip – just filed a complaint. I moved into my apt in November of last year and call PEPCO monthly asking where my bill is. They either can’t get a meter reading, are investigating, or in process of sending my bill every single time. It’s so frustrating to have to beg them to bill me. I’m going to be really pissed if they send me to a collection agency if they’ve never billed me.

        • Ugh, I’d be more concerned about getting slapped with a massive $2K bill for over a year’s worth of service and then being told I have 30 days to pay it. That really sucks. Do you even have an account number? You should be able to setup your online account with that and see if there’s any accruing charges. Do not wait for a paper bill to land on your doorstep.
          Ugh, Pepco sucks so hard.

    • Will try that. Thank you!

  • They’re a collection agency. If you don’t actually owe that money tell them to politely fuck off and that you are disputing it. Don’t worry about their threats, that’s the only way the get their money.

    • Allison

      You can submit a *written* demand to the debt collection agency under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, section 805, stating that you refuse to pay the debt because it is invalid and requesting that they not communicate with you further about the debt.

  • Go to their office downtown and talk to a real person, ask for a manager if needed and take all your paperwork with you. Good luck!

    • Great idea, that might help with getting through. Thank you!

      • The office downtown doesn’t let you talk to anyone in person, it just has phones to call their location in SE. Save yourself a trip and go directly to the SE location, and then ask to speak to a manager.

  • You might also want to pull your credit reports from the three bureaus. If the debt was sold to a collection agency, it may also have been reported as a delinquent account. Protecting your credit record/score should be a top priority for you.

    • The letter I received did say that it was reported as a delinquent account. I will pull my credit report. Thanks for the help!!

      • Make sure that when you sort it out, that Pepco has this taken off your credit report entirely. It’s not enough to just “drop it” with the collections agency – make sure it is totally deleted from your report. Good luck.

  • Your “neighbor” is doing this or did this to establish credit elsewhere. File a complaint with Send this information to the credit bureau and let them know you are current on your payments and don’t occupy that apartment.

  • Just wait until after the Pepco/Exelon merger. All your problems will magically disappear.

  • I would definitely discuss this with my landlord as well. If someone is living in C102, at this point they’ve been essentially stealing electricity for 4 months. If they were already living there, they should have noticed their bills just stopped coming. Unlikely but worse, they might even be the ones who signed you up for their service if they stole some of your mail and had enough of your key info. Even if it was all just an honest series of errors, your landlord has a vested interest in making sure all the tenants are maintaining the proper utility services as required.

    • I wouldn’t notice if my Pepco bill stopped coming. I’m on automatic payments and haven’t opened a bill in a while. One time my gas bill seemed high so I checked it out, it turned out that they hadn’t done the automatic payment for two months so they took out three months in on transaction. I don’t think I would notice payments not happening.

      • When service is changed into a new name, you get a final bill. They’d have to never check mail or email to avoid it. Then never check bank statements for months or fail to notice the charge randomly going away while not receiving any bills. Possible, but unlikely.

        • Who actually reads any email from Pepco? I only check my bill if the amount deducted from my account seems off. The only way I know if the amount deducted on my account is off is if something is actually deducted. How can someone know that they should have received something that they didn’t receive? I didn’t receive a Pepco bill today, should I waste my time determining if I should have received one today and didn’t? What about if the same thing happens tomorrow? Or on the last day of every month, should I make sure that I go through that month’s mail to make sure that I did in fact receive a bill from Pepco, DC Water, Washington Gas, Verizon, and the 10 other recurring monthly charges that I have set up to pay automatically so I don’t have to waste time worrying about it.

  • Blithe

    You might want to also check with your building manager who can confirm that the tenant in C102 has a Pepco account — or not. Sorting out this ordeal might be a bit easier if you’re able to not only show that you are NOT responsible for the bills to C102, but can also show who is responsible for the account.

  • Can you get Pepco to just close and stop service on that account? That way you’re at least not still paying for it?

    • Not if you’re a renter.

      • Being a renter has nothing to do with your ability to stop service. What do you think renters do when they move out? Stop service.

        • +1 Anyone can turn on service. Call give the address, poof, service.

        • Every rental I have lived in has required me to transfer the service rather than disconnect the service (which is also what I require for the unit I rent out). It is a major pain to have Pepco disconnect the service and reconnect it again. I have never heard of anyone doing that in rental properties. Maybe you’re the first?

          • I’d be shocked if I was. Every unit I have rented that was serviced by Pepco in this area has had me shut off/disconnect service at the end of my lease.

  • A few years ago I had a similar issue where Pepco had my apartment’s utility meter mixed up with my neighbors. We were actually paying the wrong bills for a few years until we noticed that something was wrong.

    Since Pepco wasn’t very helpful in finding a solution, I contacted the DC Office of the People’s Counsel. They worked with Pepco on my behalf and helped get the situation resolved. I would see if they can offer you advice or assistance with your situation.

    Good luck. And make sure to be persistent. It usually takes a while to work though these issues.

    • This exact same situation happened to me a couple years ago! It took me MONTHS of being incredibly diligent with my records and persistent. They did NOT want to solve my problem. But I eventually prevailed in getting the apartments set up to bill for the correct meter and even got a reimbursement for the extra I had paid for over a couple years. It pays to be persistent and thorough!

  • I also highly recommend putting your complaint up on their Facebook page (they have one, I checked). Companies tend to respond quickly to their social media accounts-I went through a similar issue with Comcast that went on for a year, and ended up going to collections. When it is all said and done, make sure they give you a letter of deletion that confirms it was removed from your credit report.

  • I had some similar foolishness with comcast – I went to all platforms available to me, Twitter, Facebook, Better Business Bureau – that got me in touch with the ‘Executive Customer Service’ department, who were able to help.

  • Don’t hesitate to use the complaint portal at the CFPB’s website if need be:
    The CFPB can help you resolve this complaint and make sure all is well with the credit bureaus.

  • I also suggest contacting DC Public Service Commission. Pepco tried to bill me for the electricity that had been used in my apartment prior to my move in – it had been vacant for over a year. They only fixed the bill after the Commission got involved.

  • I had a very similar issue with Pepco but with the opposite result (i.e. they owe me money but will probably never pay it). we have things mostly sorted out now – that is, the neighbors are correctly paying their bill, and I am correctly paying mine. however, when all was said and done, my original erroneous account had a balance DUE BACK TO ME of like $79 which Pepco never paid. when I log in to Pepco’s website, I still have the option of selecting from two “accounts” that my name is associated with, and the original, erroneous account shows a balance due back to me for overpayment. I have called several times and talked to multiple people who assured me that an investigation was underway to have that $79 credited to my correct Pepco account, but it never actually happened. We moved in January, so this all probably went down in March and by April I had given up.

  • I had a problem years ago with AT&T charging me a ton of extra money for a cell phone account I had for one month. It eventually went to a collections agency. I called the collections agent and told him what happened and he was surprisingly very helpful. He said fax him the paperwork and he had the claim dismissed immediately.

    • This is a good point. Collection agents can sometimes be surprisingly helpful if you talk to them reasonably and explain what’s going on (they’re used to being screamed and cursed at). But always be sure to follow up immediately with a letter (see my links above) to have a record and preserve your legal rights.

  • I had the same problem. Looped my landlord into a 3 way call with Pepco and it got sorted out. It still took about 5 months from start to finish, and since I paid my bills on time, I ended up with nearly 1 year’s worth of credit on my account. I agree they are wholly unhelpful, but looping the landlord in was what got me to a solution.

  • Several years ago, I came home (12 unit apartment) on the hottest day of the summer, if not the year. I found my electricity off, Initially, I thought power outage, but my neighbors had electricity. I went to the building’s basement and a lock was on my meter. It’s after 8 pm, everyone’s gone at Pepco. Turned out Pepco had turned my electricity off by mistake for non-payment; even though my payment was current. It also turned out Pepco had been reading the wrong meter for more than a year even though the meters were clearly labeled in 42 point font with each apartment number. I had to copy 1-1/2 year’s Pepco bills and receipts, contacted dcpsc and Pepco. A few weeks later, it was resolved and Pepco agreed in writing the mistake and I did not have to pay Pepco for 1 year and they credited my account $400.

  • Contact the DC Office of the Peoples Counsel’s (OPC) Consumer Services Division (CSD) at 1133 15th Street NW #500, Washington, DC 20005; :(202) 727-3071. OPC is a semi-independent District agency who serves as your consumer advocate on matters related to electrical, natural gas and land line telecommunications. Any of the CSD staff should be helpful.

    Good luck in getting through this bureaucratic maze.

  • I had this issue with Verizon. I contacted the better business bureau and they put me in contact with someone at Verizon that actually looked into it and removed the account in a couple days and cleared it off my credit.

  • Call your council members’ office — they resolved an issue that I had been trying to resolve for 2 months in less than a day!

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