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What Do You Think?

January 13, 2008

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

There were two poll questions last week. The first question was: Do you think Allegheny Power was right to charge its customers and send unsolicited energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs to its customers?

"Better get used to them because pretty soon, it'll be the only light available, despite the mercury and the fact that they recommend you leave the room for 15 minutes if you break one."

"We live in a free society and should have had a choice concerning the Al Gore light bulbs. It appears that socialism is creeping into our daily lives. The next thing we will see is some lawyer advertising on TV if you or a loved one has been injured by the new fluorescent light bulb, please call 1-800 etc."

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"How is it EVER right to charge people for any unsolicited merchandise or service? $11.52 (2 light bulbs) x 220,000 customers = $2,534,400. Nice job by the Herald Mail to call a 'supermarket' for a price check. Google 'EarthBrite,' some guy out in Indiana got some of these pieces of junk from his power company and they lasted less than two months with under three hours of use per day (Approximately 180 hours of use). Allegheny Power should be held liable for free replacement if they fail to perform as advertised under the conditions of the sale."

"Why should I have to pay for something I didn't order? If you receive any other package in the mail that you didn't order, it's yours to keep, no charge. I think Allegheny Power needs to credit all the charges back to all customers. By the way, I purchased a four-pack of 9/40 watt bulbs at Wal-Mart (gv brand) and only paid $6.88 plus tax. Yes, we must not forget the tax. They work just great."

"I hope they accept returns like the 'supermarket' does. A friend of mine opened his box up and one of the bulbs were broken. I buy my own energy-saving bulbs. They work great, if you buy the good ones. I didn't sign up for electricity and not-so-free bulb shopping. I'll spend $11.52 somewhere else for bulbs. Way to stick it to us, Allegheny Power."

"I actually got two packages with two bulbs in each of them, so what I am hearing is that I am getting charged for them? This has to be a joke ... How in the world can they send us something and force us to buy it from them??? Everyone should bring the bulbs back and demand a refund!!"

"Thank the Maryland Public Service Commission. They gave Allegheny permission to add the surcharge. You don't think that those money-hungry grubbers would pass that up, do you? How do we demand a rebate?"

"Just because someone gave it to you does not mean you have to use it. What would've been more efficient, I think, was to send a coupon out for a free box of them, so if people wanted to try and save a little bit, they could."

"I have purchased several of these for use in my home, however, I do not want to be charged for something I did not receive. Several of my neighbors got these one to two weeks ago, but I did not and will deduct the charge from the bill."

"I suggest everyone flood Allegheny Power with phone calls boycotting this new surcharge of 96 cents per month to 'save energy.' How does charging 96 cents a month save energy? The light bulbs we received in the mail were supposed to be FREE (anything you get in the mail is supposed to be free). They tell us we are saving one dollar every month with the bulbs, while they charge us 96 cents. That saves 4 cents, not one dollar. This surcharge started in October. How many (like me) didn't get the bulbs until December? That means they were charging us BEFORE we received the bulbs. Protest this, people. We didn't ASK for these bulbs!!! This HAS to be ILLEGAL."

"No, they are out of line. If a customer did not order the bulbs and is being charged for them without the consumer's permission. Sounds like a socialist country movement. If you don't want the bulbs, send them back."

"Every light in my house is already converted to compact fluorescent bulbs. I understand what Allegheny Power is trying to accomplish, but to charge for unsolicited merchandise is unconscionable. In the world of free enterprise, I was able to buy multipacks of CFB lights for under $1.50 a bulb. I agree that a coupon would have been more appropriate. Now I have a package of bulbs that I have to pay too much for that I won't need at least for the next several years (since they last a really really long time). Hmm, I wonder if I could regift them next Christmas?"

"Flood the phone lines, people! Start calling! Complain! Call the BBB! Complain in outrage!"

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