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Water You Doing In Customer Service With That Attitude?

, , , | Working | January 27, 2023

I rent an apartment through a housing association. One day, I discover no water coming from my taps anymore, so I call the housing association for some clarification. They tell me they’ve had other tenants from my building calling with the same problem, but they transfer me to the city’s water company.

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because there’s no water coming from my taps. I wondered if there was unannounced plumbing maintenance somewhere that might be the cause?”

Employee: “Have you just moved into this apartment by any chance?” 

Me: “No, I’ve been living here for four years.” 

Employee: “When is the last time you received your water bill from us?”

Me: “I have not, because I—”

He cuts me off rather rudely and puts on a really condescending tone.

Employee: “Ma’am, you do know you have to pay us in order to get water in your apartment. It’s how the world works. You can’t expect to get water for free. If you don’t pay, your water can get shut off, so there’s no surprise there.”

Me: “If you’d let me finish… The water services are included in my rent, so no, I don’t get direct bills from you, as those are handled by [Housing Association]. Plus, I have heard that other tenants have complained there is no water currently, so it’s not just me. Now, can you please confirm that there is a water outage at my address?”

Employee: “Oh… Erm… No… We have nothing in our system about an outage. Can you try your taps again for me, please?”

It’s been a few minutes since I last tried, so I humour him. Lo and behold, water comes out of my taps just fine again.

Me: “Well, look at that. Looks like it’s resolved itself in the meantime.”

Employee: “Yeah, well, next time, check our website to see if there is a confirmed water outage in your area because there was nothing I could do for you now. Bit of a time-waster.” 

Me: “Excuse me for wasting your time, then. Goodbye.” *Hangs up*

Not One Single Drop Of Helpfulness

, , , , , | Working | January 19, 2023

Our subdivision provides water to residents via several wells. During a cold snap in Texas, our subdivision lost water pressure late one night, so I called the provider/contractor to ask them if they could fix the problem. Apparently, I reached an answering service rather than the provider/contractor, since it was after regular working hours.

I dialed the phone and waited a long time for somebody to answer. Finally, I got a recorded message and music. Lots of music. Terrible selection. More music…

Eventually, somebody answered.

Me: “I am in [Subdivision], and we have no water pressure. Can you get somebody out here to check the pumps?”

Service: “Where are you?”

Me: “[Subdivision], [zip code], near [City, State].”

Service: “We have no outage for that area.”

Me: “We are a subdivision of [number] residents. Has nobody called you with the same complaint?”

Service: “Yes, we have several calls from that area.”

Me: “Is that enough to report an outage?”

Service: “Wait a moment.”

About five or ten minutes of agonizing music…

Service: “The technician says it is frozen pipes.”

Me: “Last year, we had temperatures of four degrees Fahrenheit for a day and a half, and the pipes did not freeze. The outside temperature is now twenty degrees Fahrenheit, and it has been at that temperature for only a few hours. I really doubt the underground pipes froze that quickly. The technician is located seventy-five miles from here, in a completely different area, so they cannot state that our pipes are frozen. Can you get somebody out here to check?”

Service: “The technician says the pipes are frozen, and there is no need to go there. There is no reported water outage.” *Click*

I called several neighbors. They all had the same problem and had already called or promised to call the water company.

Twelve or more hours later, the tech arrived to investigate the problem. It was NOT frozen pipes. Apparently, a circuit breaker tripped at the pump station. Meanwhile, external water bibs that were left “on drip” froze, since there was no pressure to let them drip, and the water stagnated in the bibs. And, during the outage, we had no drinking, shower, or “flush” water.

During the outage, I volunteered to let people use my drippy nose as a substitute for their drippy faucets, but nobody took me up on that offer.

Justice Is In The Pipeline

, , , , , , , | Legal | December 26, 2022

I work as a contractor replacing water meters for the city. The utility company calls the homeowners and offers them free new water meters, and I get to install them.

I get to a house with a woman who has a “cheater pipe” installed. This is basically a pipe that bypasses the water meter, so she’s not paying for the water she’s using.

I aim to be nice, and instead of calling the police, which I am required to do, I say:

Me: “I’m going to have to remove this pipe to install the new meter.”

Homeowner: *Flips out* “I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to the new fancy meter!”

Me: “You have no choice; it’s required, and eventually, they’ll just come in to do it or shut your water off. Better we do it now and avoid any hassle.”

Again, I am trying to SAVE her, but nope.

Homeowner: “You’re being threatening! I’m calling the cops!”

I washed my hands of her and let her call the cops. The cops showed up, and I explained my side and showed them the cheater pipe bypassing the meter. They arrested her on the spot while I installed the new meter. She was screaming while being handcuffed that I had done this to her, and I’m like, no, lady, you’ve done this to yourself.

Technology Doesn’t Always Make Life Easier

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2022

My electric bill is automatically pulled from my bank account on the fifth of each month. On the seventh, I get an email saying I have a past-due balance of $0.70 and will be charged a $5.00 late fee with my next billing cycle. I call the company.

Employee: “Thank you for calling [Electric Company] billing department. This is [Employee]. Could I have your account number and the account holder’s name?”

Me: “I am [My Name], and the account number is [number].”

Employee: “Thank you. How can I help you?”

Me: “I got an email saying I had a past-due balance, but—”

Employee: “Yes, I see that. Would you like to pay now?”

Me: “I was billed for [amount]; I paid [amount] through automatic billing. Where is this extra $0.70 coming from?”

Employee: “You must have paid less.”

Me: “Okay. I’d like to talk to someone else.”

Employee: “I can do that, but they’ll only tell you the same thing.”

Me: “I’ll hold.”

I listen to ten minutes of hold music.

Supervisor: “Hello, thank you for holding. How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes. I was billed [amount], which I paid by automatic withdrawal from my banking account, but now I have an overdue bill of $0.70 and a fee of $5.00.”

Supervisor: *Heavy sigh* “I understand. Our system went through an update around the time the automatic billing was drafted. I am so sorry. I can’t give you any credit for future billing, unfortunately, but I can erase this issue.”

Me: “That’s good enough for me. Thank you for fixing this.”

Supervisor: “Thank you for being so understanding. You’re not the first to have this issue, and I’m sure you won’t be the last.”

Me: “Well then, good luck with the rest!”

The next billing cycle came around, and I was credited $10! I don’t know how the supervisor made that happen, but I’m glad he did.

When Calling Is Their Calling

, , , , , | Working | October 27, 2022

More and more companies in my area have recently outsourced calls to call centres and introduced automated call services where you have to answer questions to a robot voice before being connected to an actual person. Unfortunately, due to the call centre agents not actually being involved in the work, the service quality has dropped significantly.

One day, I need to call my electricity provider. I wait a few minutes, and then someone picks up the phone.

Employee: “Hello! This is [Employee]; you’ve reached the [Electricity Provider] helpline! How can I help you today? Because, you know, I actually can help you. We don’t outsource our calls! I actually work for [Electricity Provider], can answer all your questions about all our products, and know what I’m doing!

I cracked up laughing; he sounded so enthusiastic! To be fair, he really did know what he was doing and found a quick and creative solution to my unusual problem. I wish all helplines were like this one!