Earlier this week I was in Ottawa to see a good friend called to the bar (no, she isn't a bartender - that is what they call it when you become a lawyer here in Ontario). It was a fascinating ceremony. More on that later when Dave sends me the pics.
When I got home there was a note on the front door stating that the gas had been cut off. No, stop thinking such bad thoughts - I had paid my bills and do so on time, all of the time! *smile*
It was shut off for an alleged infraction with the BBQ line.
I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here in Ontario it is the law the the gas company must inspect the gas lines in the premises before the home owner takes possession. This is to ensure that the builder hasn't made any illegal or unsafe modifications to the gas lines since they were installed. I like that - I like knowing that my house isn't about to be blown to Kansas whilst I sleep.
Now in our case, we were contacted by Union Gas 4 years after we had taken possession of the house to come and do their inspection, conceivably we had been living in an unsafe house for four years.
They came (4 years late, I remind you gentle reader), inspected, and didn't like the gas line that had been put in for the gas BBQ. I received an infraction notice and was advised to have the contractor who did the original work come and fix it. When he did this he was to sign the infraction notice and I was to fax it back to Union Gas. Whew - all would then be good with the world.
I tracked down the guy who did the original work 4 years ago (guess how easy that was? My new middle name is Sherlock). He came by, made the modifications requested by the gas company, signed off on the infraction notice and went on his merry way.
I faxed the notice back to the gas company and called to confirm that it had been received. Yes it had, all was good.
Then I arrive home from Ottawa to find the notice that said the gas had been cut off. ARGH I called the number and something 'snapped'. It wasn't pretty. The guy at the other end seemed to suggest that this was my problem for not doing the work and faxing back the infraction notice. They had not received any fax from me, I must have either sent it to the wrong number or had failed to send it. The gas company could not have been at fault. Well, imagine the impact that this had on my already boiling temper? I so love being told I had not done what I was supposed to have done when I had clearly done so!
I had the gas back on and an apology in 35 minutes.
I feel bad though - the guy who was on the other end of my 'snap' had nothing at all to do with the gas being accidentally turned off but he got an earful. It drives me nuts when you pay a fortune for a service and they treat the customer like crap.
Now here is the clincher. I was contacted by the contractor who had been called directly by Union Gas LAST week and was told that the work he had done still didn't bring the line up to code and he would have to do some minor modifications. How would they have known his name and number had they not received the infraction notice that he had signed off on (it contained his name, contractor number, and phone number).
Did the gas company contact me to let me know that they work wasn't done as they liked?
Apparently it was more convenient to shut off my gas when I wasn't around, accuse me over the phone of NOT having complied with the infraction notice, and not having faxed the information to them. Presumably they enjoy angry tirades and having to come out in the evening to turn gas back on.
Now I enjoy being safe. This isn't about having a safe gas line at all. This is about process and treating customers properly; when you pay someone's salary they should at least be polite with you. It is about finding a solution, not finding fault or problem.
This morning I am staying home so that the contractor can come by and do the work that he is required to do. The gas line will be safe. Union Gas will be happy. My blood pressure (which has gone back up just recounting this tale of woe) will have returned to normal. All will be right with the world.
What will I get for my troubles? The damn gas company will likely increase the rate to pay for their enhanced customer service!