26 October 2008
The post where JellyBelly tries to find humour in the situation
I've had more than my fair share of things to complain about this week. Not only is my teaching partner driving me crazy, but we have been without heat for five days and we were without hot water for four. Mr. JB and I have been on the phone with our service provider, D.irect E.nergy, constantly. I think we've logged over 20 phone calls since our saga started.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a musty smell in the basement. We are very lucky to live in a fairly new home that has a very dry basement so I was instantly suspicious. We did some investigating and found a leak in one of the pipes in the ceiling. My dad came right away and fixed the problem (thank God for handy dads!). Unfortunately the leak was only abated for a couple of days and we ended up having to call D.irect E.nergy since the problem was just getting worse.
We thought that we were lucky when the technicians were dispatched the next day to speedily fix the pipes in the ceiling (at a cost of $400) and replace the hot water tank. Then four days later we heard horrible noises. I thought that it was the construction on the road in front of our house (the main road is being torn up to install sewers for two new developments in our neighbourhood), but it was past 8pm and there were no construction guys outside. Needless to say we got on the phone again with D.E. and more technicians were dispatched. This time the guy told us that the first installers did a poor job and that the new unit was ruined and that we needed another hot water tank. The tech was at our house until past midnight trying to patch up the faulty work, but he was unable to get the system working again.
This was last Thursday night and it was over 24 hours that we didn't have hot water or heat. After much complaining and yelling over the phone we were offered $120 a night to stay in a hotel, but we decided to tough it out and shower at my best friend's house (who lives around the corner) and bundle up. We were promised that someone would be at our house first thing Saturday morning so we decided to stay at our cold house since we would've had to leave the hotel so early in the morning.
Well, 8am became 4pm and I was absolutely livid by the time the technicians showed up. It wasn't until 2pm when Mr. JB called the customer service people that we found out that our hot water tank wasn't even at their warehouse. In the age of cell phones no one could've phoned us so we could've gone about our day? I could've gone to the laundry mat or the grocery store, but I was essentially held hostage in my home while I waited for people to show up at my house.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't end with the second new hot water tank. We do have hot water, but we don't have heat. We have a compound system and our furnace and hot water tank are connected, so there was a problem with the installation. We had a technician from the E.nbridge come to check our thermostat and he said that there is nothing mechanically wrong with our furnace.
So here we are, freezing in our house. I cannot believe how poorly we have been treated by the powers that be. We're good customers. I've never paid a bill late and we own a well-maintained home. I feel as though this large company just doesn't care about their customers. Although we were offered to stay at the hotel, they didn't offer to compensate us for eating out (I refused to boil water so I could do dishes when it was their mistake!).
I was so upset at the injustice I e-mailed various media agencies, the ombudsman at E.nbridge and the Better Business Bureau. I don't know what will come of it, but it got someone from the Executive Office interested. Last night when we were waiting for our hot water tank to fill up the Director of Planning and Logistics called us and he wants to meet with us to discuss compensation. I'll let you all know what comes of that meeting.
I have to wonder how many good customers have been treated with such incompetence. As I sit in my house that is 18C I can't help but feel so angry at a system where monopolies control essential services. It's not like I can seek another service provider for my house. If I refuse to pay for their work I'll get in trouble.
I really hate feeling like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.
On a happier note: we attended the baptism of my cousin and his wife's new daughter. They went through many years of IVF to conceive their first daughter and we found out last June that they had adopted a toddler who was in foster care. We met her for the first time today at the church and we fell instantly in love. She's a beautiful little girl and it is so obvious that their family is just over the moon. I don't know if I'm quite ready to look into adoption, but seeing their new little girl's happy face made me think that perhaps it's what we're meant to do.
So wish us luck. Hopefully we will have heat sometime before the first snowfall.
Now I'm going to eat some chocolate.