Thursday, 2 October 2008

Not my fault - not my problem

This is so stupid I can't even formulate a coherent post. I'll do my best, but I'm not making any promises.

My power got shut off today. Oh no, no no no, it gets better. My power got shut off when my bill is paid IN FULL.

I got my bill. I paid my bill. I paid my bill ON TIME. In full. My bank processed my paid bill.

The power company shut me off.

I came a wee bit unglued.

I called the power company. They told me, many times, that because they had not processed my bill, they did not "know" I'd paid my bill, and so they'd assumed I hadn't and shut me off.

My bill was $80. Guess how much the reconnect fee is?


No, higher.

$131.25. One hundred thirty one dollars and twenty five cents to reconnect power that got turned off because THEY HAD NOT PROCESSED MY PAYMENT. Now, I got the worlds rudest customer service representative, and I was pretty steamed, so I saw red through most of the following conversation, but it went roughly like this:

Me: Hi. My power has been shut off, and I know my bill is paid in full, so what's going on?
Representative: We're showing that you didn't pay the bill, so your power was disconnected.
Me: No, my bill is paid in full, and was paid by the "due by" date listed. Confirmation number xxxxx, date xx/xx/xxxx, banks telephone number xxx-xxx-xxxx. I have written confirmation of processing by my bank showing that the money was legally in your company's possession a FULL 24hours before you shut my power off.
R: Well, you know it says right on your bill that you should call us and tell us when you pay.

--(Right about now I morphed into Kika the Super Bitch)--

Me: Yes, I REALIZE that it says I "should" call. Do YOU know that there is actually a difference between SHOULD and HAVE TO?? SHOULD is optional. HAVE TO is NECESSARY. Are we clear? "Should" implies choice. "Have to" implies requirement. I am not REQUIRED to tell you I paid my bill. I am required to pay my bill in the time frame laid out. Which I did.
R: Well, the fact is that you were approved for termination of services, so if you want the power turned back on, you'll have to pay the reconnection fee of $131.25, call us with confirmation, and then we can submit a requisition to have services reinstated.
M: Out of morbid curiosity, how long would that take?
R: 2-5 business days. That's standard procedure.
M: I'm not paying your stupid fee when my bill was paid on time. Frankly, I don't care about your "procedure". I have a whole trail of paper that proves the total amount owing on MY bill for MY services was submitted in due time to your company. I'm right, you're wrong.
R: Well there's no way for me to waive the fee, so you have to pay it before you can get your power back on.
M: Ok, first of all - it does NOT cost $131.25 to flip a damn switch. Second of all, I'm not paying a fee for something that occurred due to an error on YOUR end. Put me through to someone with a higher IQ than my bathmat, please.
(Transfer to supervisor)
Me: (Re-explains situation a tad curtly.)
Supervisor: Well, I'm sorry but there's nothing we can do. You were approved to be disconnected, our computers did not show any payment being made.
M: MY computer, and MY BANK'S computer beg to differ.
S: You should have called to report your payment.
M: I don't have to call to report my payment. I have to pay what I owe by the due date. I did that.
S: Well, we don't have enough people to process all the payments, so people should call in so this doesn't happen. (See, this is where she went wrong.)
M: It is NOT. MY. PROBLEM. that you don't have enough staff. I'm sorry that your corrupt company has chosen to outsource to third world countries and cut staffing back to skeleton crew. I'm SORRY that the economy is biting the big one and the almighty bottom line is more important to you than the customer. Because you don't care about people, do you? All you care about is DOLLARS, which leads you to justify, in your minimally trained mind, charging a single mom with three small children who herself got laid off recently an amount that totals ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY percent of my original bill - which might I remind you I paid IN FULL and ON TIME. Do you know what a "Service Monopoly" is? A Service Monopoly is when one company is the SOLE PROVIDER of said service in a given area. You, power company, are a Service Monopoly. This allows you to ding me with whatever ridiculous service fees you can invent to pad your profit margin because you know there's not a damn thing I can do about it. So me, and every other customer you terrorize have to just bend over while you money-grubbing assholes get fat off our backs and, quite literally, take food away from our children. How do you even sleep at night?
S: You're becoming irate.
M: You're pissing me off.
S: I feel for your situation, so I will submit the forms to have your power reinstated - but you will have to pay the reconnection fee with your next bill.
M: Oh the hell with you and your service fees.

Remember a few posts back when I said articulate people get what they want? I was not articulate. I did not get what I want. Well, I got half of what I want - my power is obviously back on (2-5 days my ass, it was more like 2-5 hours.) but I'll still be getting slapped with the totally unjust reconnection fee.

However. Power is billed bi-monthly. I am moving. By the time my next bill is late, I won't even live here, and thus do not care one iota if they shut off the power. I'm sorely tempted to just hang the bill and let them waste their time and money tracking me down to get their money - with me fighting them every step of the way, obviously. However, I hope to someday buy a house, and would need some semblance of credit to do so.

I still wish there was some way to make them eat the fee... Suggestions?

BC Hydro - You are dead to me.


Herb of Grace said...

We had this same problem with our water bill recently and my dh just kept paying the monthly bill and ignoring the extra reconnect fee and arguing his way up the chain of command and eventually they dropped it. The squeaky and imovable wheel gets the grease, I guess :)

Amanda said...

oh oh i can help you in the house department...I JUST GOT A MORTGAGE and i tell every creditor to shove fact been to collections twice b/c i refused to pay...i can't even get a $500 credit card but i got a mortgage...WITH a good interest say screw you to the hydro company!

Anonymous said...

Hhmm...trying to think of my time at ATCO...usually you don't disconnected with out warning (eg a ph call) and usually its with more then one month of arrears (spelt wrong). I'm very surprised that they were that quick to shut it off. The Trouble Shooter from Global, or the equivalant on a different station, may also do the trick. Also a mention of your lawyer may be helpful. Maybe a complaint to the BBB. Anyway, I wouldn't pay it and keep going up the management ladder as mentioned earlier. -- Del

Kim said...

Kira, reading your post made my heart start beating faster and the rage bubble. I am pissed for you. I don't think that means anything, but that's fricking bulls*it!!!!

I'm glad you're moving.

Stick it to them.

billieriter said...

ROFL, You sounded like me when they shut my power off a few months ago here in Ohio. I agree that they do this crap simply because they can. If there was competition, I think they would be a little more gracious for their customers. Good Luck with it all and let us know if you find anything that does work!

FavAuntRachel said...

Hi there! I'm really sorry that happened to you. But I'm glad your power got turned back on the same day!

I don't know (well anything) about Canada, but here in the States, I believe the power companies are regulated by the State it's located in. If the same is true for you (Province), maybe you could take your complaint to the government? If nothing else, at least to get that fee waived.

Kira said...

Apparently they call to tell you of impending doom, but if you don't answer for whatever reason, their automated doom-master leaves you a message that says something like: "If you are Kira, please press 1." followed by a bunch of silence where apparently my answering machine chose not to press 1. So how are you supposed to know who you missed a call from? And I answer maybe 1 call in 5. Lol. Stupid BC Hydro... It actually makes me long for Epcor. So, so sad.

Lydia said...

Kira... my blood pressure just went way up... I am so angry for you. That is totally totally wrong, and i am at a loss for words cause this post bothered me so much :(
I'm glad you're moving :)