Friday, August 11, 2006

Customer "Service"

First, let me just say that there's hope for the world after all. I hate those stupid shows! Hate them.

Anyway, so for the last week I have been patiently waiting for my landlady to have time to get my stove going, since the Columbia Gas people last Friday said the gas is on in there and my service was to start Monday. It's not urgent, since I'm not spending time in there much yet. But then she got in there and later called me to say there is no gas. Huh what? I am instructed, which gives me glee, to give them heck.
So I call the gas people and tell them, and this incredibly snippy woman just REFUSES to understand what I am telling her, that my hot water is not on my account, but the main house account, so the fact that it is working has nothing to do with whether I have gas in my apartment or not. She gets very huffy when I am trying to see if my furnace works (it doesn't) and warns me that, even if she sent someone out there that night, if it turns out to be a stove problem, I am out 60 bucks since it isn't a Columbia Gas problem. Oh, and if you have hot water you should have gas. (I think she repeated this about eight times, again, unable to understand that I don't pay for hot water, just cooking and heating). She is looking at my account info, and I am explaining that I have two apartments, and she has trouble finding apt 2 (my apartment I've had for five years), but then finally does...the hesitation should have been a clue to me. Remember that. So finally, intensely frustrated I tell her I am going to call with my landlady and call them back later.
I go to Grounds for Thought for some chai, and then I have a brainwave: I would be willing to bet money that the first time I called, last week, instead of putting me on apt 1, the new place, they've gone and put me on the MAIN HOUSE LINE, which is where all the hot water and other miscellaneous gas that isn't heating and cooking-related for each apartment comes from.
I call them back and this time get a very nice girl (I talked to billing this time, thinking it would get me further) and explain exactly what the problem is, and sure enough, the ...okay, I'm just going to call him an idiot...from last week, instead of putting me on apt 1 as I asked (I repeated "I have apt 2, and I'm adding apt 1" at least five times to make sure he had it, throughout the call), put me on the house account. GAH!
So instead of looking at my account and realizing that, if my old account said 2 after the address, the new account should say 1 after the address, the first girl I talked to completely ignored this discrepancy and was snarky to me. The second girl I talked to was calm, smart, and very polite. And, she informed me, the gas was decidedly off in apt 1 and, sadly, I won't be able to get service until sometime next Tuesday (which means I have to be over there and stay there virtually all day until they come, starting in the morning. Bleh.)
I thought this was over until I got a gas bill this morning for the house...almost 9 bucks in the two days I had "service." I called immediately to make sure I could disregard that and that the account was in my property manager's name.
The upshot of all of this is that I felt, once again, like a genius, because coming up with the main house line idea was really pretty inspired, in my opinion.
Picture me shuddering and trying to wash my hands of this whole thing. My landlady was very sympathetic when she called me later in response to my second message cancelling the red alert, acknowledging past poor customer service from CG.
So...WAKE UP, Columbia Gas. Some of your personnel are not getting the job done, and no customer likes to be bullied. Thank heavens for the girl whose name, I think, was Michelle, who straightened things out for me.

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