Illinois Commerce Commission

So…what’s the purpose of the Illinois Commerce Commission??? Have they ever successfully helped out anybody who was ripped off?

I know of several people – including myself – who basically got no help form the ICC. Not to go on forever, I’ll just mention one of my best friends, who recently suddenly got a water bill for over $2000. The reason: the water company somehow failed to bill him properly for about two years and demanded full repayment up front. He did some research, found that it’s illegal for a utility to make such a demand. He filed a complaint with ICC, who told him to not take any action on the bill until they get back to him. Suddenly he found himself being sent to collections…because the ICC ruled in the water company’s favor and, oh yeah, forgot to call him.

As for me…long story short, while I was unloading a 12-foot moving truck when I moved into my current apartment (I was in a parking spot on private property that the owner himself invited me to use – but that’s a longer part of the story I won’t get into), the Lincoln Park Pirates decided to tow it away and charge me $800 to get it back. I didn’t have that kind of money, but the driver told me I could put it on a credit card. When I went to their bulletproof window I noticed on the sign that up to a certain weight the charge was $250 – and the moving truck I had was well under that weight. As I went into the lot to get the truck, a couple of other drivers were in the lot, and they asked me, “How much did we get you on that?” I told 'em $800, and their eyes shot out of their heads. “That’s a ripoff! There’s no way you should have been charged that for something so small!” They told me to call the manager first thing that Monday morning, and if the manager wouldn’t budge to call the ICC. “They do NOT want to deal with the Illinois Commerce Commission,” they told me.

So I called the manager…which itself was an amusing call because he kept changing his story…like, how when the guys I talked to said $800 was a ripoff, the manager said, “My drivers don’t know what the prices are, so they couldn’t possibly have told you that.” “Oh yeah? Then why did the driver who towed my truck know how much it would be before he even drove away?” “Uhh…well…some drivers know the prices, some don’t.” Uh. huh.

Anyway, I got in touch with the ICC Police, and Commander Baner gave me a statute number to look up if I felt there was anything illegal. Sure enough, I found something else: if a vehicle is about to be towed and the driver shows up while the tow truck is still there, the tow is to be disengaged, and the person responsible for the vehicle is to be charged no more than half the posted charge. I called the ICC Police again, talked to a guy named Officer Morris, and he agreed that indeed that’s what they should have done. He did some research and found that indeed, I was also gouged on the $800 tow because it was registered as being 4 tons, and the maximum charge for those vehicles is $250. I met with Officer Morris and identifed the driver of the tow truck from photocopied pictures he showed me, and I mentioned that they put on a $300 limit on a credit card and made me spread it over three credit cards. “I wish you would have told me that in the first place – we’ll get 'em on THAT, too!”

Anyway…months went by and Officer Morris called me and apologized, saying to act further he had to get the official records from the state of Indiana (where the moving truck was registered), and the Indiana courts were taking forever to respond, but he’d be in touch. Literally three years have gone by since, and I’ve been calling almost weekly and Officer Morris is always either on vacation, on lunch, or in a training…arggh…

I could go on about dozens of other stories I’ve heard about how ICC hasn’t helped anybody…so…what exactly is their purpose?? What do they do??

Sounds like you’ve got a couple interesting stories there, which the Master may want to look into. But first a question. Did you try calling anybody besides the ICC? For example - I’m assuming both these incidents happened in Chicago, pls advise if that’s not so - did you try calling the city? The water dept. presumably sent out the bill; that’d seem like the first place to complain to. Offhand I’d think the towing company would be under the purview of the Chicago Dept. of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. Did you try calling them, and if so with what result?

To simplify further research, send me your contact info at edzotti at Thanks.

No to both – my friend was living in Bradley at the time, under the reign of Aqua Illinois. Never tried anybody besides the ICC, to be honest…that’s whom everybody told me to contact…

My friend and I (and I do believe most of the others in question) did also try What’s Your Problem in the Trib and The Fixer in the Sun-Times.

But really, though, I am serious in that I want to know exactly what their purpose is and how they help consumers, if that is their purpose to begin with.

As far as I know - I knew the chairman years ago - they mostly do utility rate-setting and other big-picture stuff. I didn’t know they even had a consumer complaint department. The subject warrants further investigation. Please e-mail me your contact info so we can get particulars offline.