Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Gas Company Strikes Again...Part IV

...How could this happen? It's not like a 100 gallons and 369 gallons are anywhere close to each other on the meter. Was the driver distracted? Was he trolling Facebook? Was he taking a leak? Was he playing pocket pool? According to my calculations, that's almost four times the amount I should have received. What normally takes less than three minutes turned into over ten minutes? Was he on a break?

All of these questions and many more ran through my mind the entire weekend. But perhaps the most frustrating of all was the fact that someone was going to have to pay for it, and even though I told myself a million times that I wasn't going to, somehow, I knew that wouldn't be the case. It wasn't in the budget and for all I cared they could just come right back out to the house and suck it all back out. (I'm sure there's a fee for that, too!)

I dreaded making the call on Monday, but on the other hand, I couldn't wait to hear what the explanation was about the quadrupling of my order and how they were going to handle the situation. At least I wouldn't have to talk to the mean lady because she would have probably explained that it was all my fault and they were going to sue because I caused the driver undo anguish over the mistake.

I took a deep breath and placed the call.

Rep: "Heritage Propane? Can I help you?"

Me: "Hi, I'm Gianetta Palmer and I ordered gas last week, but there was a mistake with my delivery."

Rep: "Okay. What was the problem?"

Me: "Well, I ordered 100 gallons, but I received 369 gallons."


Me: "Hello?"

Rep: "I'm here. I think I know what you're talking about. What's your account number?"

I rattled off a few numbers and she continued.

Rep: "Okay, I have it right here. Yeah, the driver called right away and said he got distracted. Julie (?) worked a few numbers and we were able to take $.30 off the price per gallon and drop the price to $1.59 a gallon. I know it's a problem for you."


Me: "You're right! It's a big problem...." (I was very calm and polite.)

More silence.

Rep: "Okay, well let me talk to Julie again and work some numbers and I'll call you back. Is that okay?"

Me: "Sure."

She called back a short time later.

Rep: "I'm new here, but I saw in your account records that you've had problems in the past."

Me: "A few.."

Rep: "Well, that was before I was here but I sure am sorry (first time ever someone apologized) you're having this many problems. I mean it's not rocket science or something, we're selling gas."

Me: "That's true."

Rep: "Here's what we were able to do: You originally paid $1.89 a gallon for 100 hundred gallons. We reduced the original price to $.99 a gallon so deducting what you've already paid and adding the taxes and fees back in you will only owe us $161.82. And if that doesn't work for you I can give you the number to the main office and you can talk to the area manager."

The only thing I heard out of that conversation was $.99 a gallon.

Me: "You're gonna charge me $.99 a gallon for all of it?"

Rep: "Yes."

Me: "All 369 gallons of it?"

Rep: "Yes."

Me: "In the middle of winter?" (Two years ago I paid nearly $4 a gallon in February.)

Rep: "Yes, ma'am."

Me: "Okay." (Unbelievable!)

Rep: "And you don't have to pay for thirty days...."

I hung up the phone and just sat there waiting on the other shoe to drop. It had taken nearly twenty years and many, many mistakes but I will have to say that the gas company delivered this time. Unless an Ice Age develops in the next ten months I have enough gas to get through the end of the year. I was thrilled.

Or at least I was until I got the mail two days later. They sent the new bill and it didn't match what the customer rep told me on the phone. It was $25 more.

I thought about calling and complaining about the difference but thought better of it. I'd already saved several hundred dollars. Besides, knowing my luck it was probably an added fee because they had to bill me because I wouldn't pay over the phone.

Mistakes happen. There's bad customer service everywhere. But, sometimes if you're nice and calm, things might eventually go your way.

And I'll take 50% off any day...

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