Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never Giving Up

Call me innocent or gullible when I wrote this post about discovering my electric company had been overcharging me for the 18 months since D signed a contract with them. I thought I'd make a quick phone call to the provider, we'd laugh about it, part as friends, and a refund check would be in the mail.

Reality is a different universe.

Because I do not want to be responsible for causing readers of this blog to turn to strong drink or blood pressure medications, I will not regale you with the details of the last month of repeated phone calls. Let's just say I was dealing with a call center in the Philippines with people who speak broken English, and there is no actual physical location where you can talk to a real person face-to-face.

 Oh, silly me.

This process involved untold calls, faxes of proof, and promised return phone calls that never came. You know how customer service people give you their name and employee number when you talk to them? Well, that is Worthless Information because you will NEVER talk to that same person again. You will have to retell and retell and retell your story ad nauseum.

But I learned some magical things that I'd like to pass on to you if (please, God, no) you ever get in a situation with your electrical provider:

  1. Always ask for a supervisor. The call people cannot do much to help you.
  2. If the supervisor cannot help  you, ask for these magic words: the ESCALATION TEAM.
  3. If after a month, you still are getting the run-around, Google the name of the CEO of the company and email him. Because, people: that was the Magic Solution.
After documenting my month-long struggle to the CEO, he responded to my email in 15 minutes. When the person told to call me the next day did not return my call, I emailed Mr. CEO again. And again, he responded in 15 minutes. I am glad the person at the top cares; I am sad he is so distanced from the company that he thinks that customer care representatives are actually, I don't know: caring about the customers.

Anywhoo, his personal secretary called  and left her personal phone number. I contacted her after school yesterday and the results were stellar: I have a credit for this month, a refund check coming in the mail for 18 months of overcharging, a new lower rate that is 6 cents a kilowatt hour less than my previous rate and no fee for changing before the contract ran out.


I was thisclose to giving up because the first week of school as an elementary school teacher has enough challenges of its own. But you know what pushed me over the top? The two nights in a row I stayed home for promised phone calls that never came. When I needed to pick up the first day photographs of my students from a local drug store. Heck has no fury like a second grade teacher scorned over bulletin board photographs.

The new lower electric rate, coupled with the new energy efficient windows and attic insulation will make my electric bill (in this house that is really too big for just me) manageable.

To quote Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never, never give up."

And emailing the CEO is a good idea, too.


Locketts said...

Had a very similar situation with a lovely health insurance company a few years ago. They kept issuing us cards with invalid ID numbers, then we'd be declined for coverage and billed outrageous amounts of $$. CEO wasn't much help, but I mentioned that I was planning to call Michael Moore and tell him my story. Wouldn't you know we were promptly sent a card with the correct ID number? Love him or hate him, he makes people shake in their normally apathetic loafers.

Dawn said...


Grinning from ear to ear for you!

Sarah said...

Yay! Way to to stick with it. Reminds me of the saga I went through getting my former health insurance company to pay for my last labor and delivery. Yes, it is soooo frustrating to tell the same story over and over.

My struggle ended when I got on my knees and prayed that God would connect me to the right person. She was just a call center worker, but she was so kind and caring, and she got results!

I'm so glad you're getting restitution.