Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

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Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

grampajohn
Administrator
A message to participants in the 2014 Finals:

Electricity customers in Metropolis have been told that they will have an opportunity to sign up for competitive electric service tariffs next week. They are looking forward to the potential for improved service, but they have heard horror stories about electricity brokers abusing their customers from citizens in other cities where the markets have already opened. Specifically, they have been warned to be suspicious of tariffs that charge a fee to sign up in exchange for a low price per kWh. The story is that after a customer signs up and pays the fee, the tariff gets revoked, and the signup fee is not refunded. So the advice
being given to Metropolis customers is to assume that any tariff with a signup fee will be quickly revoked, and so such a tariff only makes sense if the signup fee can be recovered by lower prices very quickly,
before the tariff can be revoked.

In the longer term, the authorities have said that there will be new rules in place that will require refunds in case a tariff with a signup fee is revoked before its minimum duration, but that it will take time to put the accounting systems in place to enforce such a rule.

Wolf and John
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Re: Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

serkan
So, are we free to play the bad company?
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Re: Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

grampajohn
Administrator

On 05/02/2014 05:40 PM, serkan [via Power TAC Developers] wrote:
So, are we free to play the bad company?

You always have been, but of course once the other participants discover what you are doing they may not want to talk to you. Better for everyone if you let us know about exploitable flaws so we can fix them. In this case, two brokers were starting to exploit this type of customer abuse, and we decided the customers could fight back a bit. For next year, the plan is to pay out refunds (from the broker's bank account, of course) if a tariff with a signup fee is revoked early.

Does this make sense?

John




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Re: Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

serkan
Dear John,

Thank you for your reply. I want to share a case that should be fixed immediately.

If we use a positive rate value for a consumer tariff (It means that we pay to customers for their consumption) with a signup fee, my bank balance goes to sky high (around 2-3 million EUR). Then simply we can revoke the tariff for abusing.

I believe that this should be fixed immediately by ignoring the consumer tariffs which have positive rate values.

Regards

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Re: Customers getting suspicious of signup fees

grampajohn
Administrator

On 05/03/2014 06:48 AM, serkan [via Power TAC Developers] wrote:

> Dear John,
>
> Thank you for your reply. I want to share a case that should be fixed
> immediately.
>
> If we use a positive rate value for a consumer tariff (It means that
> we pay to customers for their consumption) with a signup fee, my bank
> balance goes to sky high (around 2-3 million EUR). Then simply we can
> revoke the tariff for abusing.
>
> I believe that this should be fixed immediately by ignoring the
> consumer tariffs which have positive rate values.

Right. We saw that; it was a clever exploit that we had not anticipated.
But it should be fixed now; I did a fresh deploy yesterday. That's what
I meant by customers being suspicious. Even with positive rates, they
now insist on paying for the entire signup fee with less than one day's
savings on energy.

Thanks!

John