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Because we totally put a card on your door to notify you about a dangerous gas leak
  #1  
Old 04-09-2019, 03:22 AM
WishfulSpirit WishfulSpirit is offline
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Angry Because we totally put a card on your door to notify you about a dangerous gas leak

Hi everyone.

I haven't been around much since I escaped forward-facing customer service last November (yay happy dance!). I currently work as an admin for a company that helps take care of gas line/meter inspections for the local power conglomocorp. Most of my interactions are with technicians. Bossman knows what to look for when hiring, the guys (and gals, of which we have several) who make up our technician staff are both pleasant and competent, so no issues there.

I do, however, have to take phone calls from the community. When our techs are out surveying and they find a home where the gas meter is inside, they leave a card on the door asking the customer to call (our number is listed) and schedule a meter inspection.

At least two people have assumed that we put a card on a door to notify the owner of the home that there's a serious gas leak and have either called 911, called the gas company (whose call center reps apparently aren't trained on who we are and like to yell at me for "scamming" customers) or called us and started screaming about being in danger and come fix it right now. I get about 3 calls a day with people worried they have a leak but not as panicked because they have some kind of sense.

For those who don't know: if a survey tech actually finds a dangerous gas leak and the source in inaccessible, the next call is to the fire department, who if they can't gain access to shut off gas via less destructive means, will kick down the door.

So don't call me up scared out of your pea brain because you think it's reasonable that we'd notify you of a dangerous gas leak by putting a little yellow card on your door.

PS in reference to getting yelled at for "scamming": yes I know there are nefarious individuals out there who have gained access to homes to rob the owners (or worse) by claiming to be utility technicians. But if your company hires another company to work for you, maybe inform your own employees about it.
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Last edited by WishfulSpirit; 04-09-2019 at 03:25 AM.

  #2  
Old 04-09-2019, 03:58 PM
nutraxfornerves nutraxfornerves is offline
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Unfortunately, my area has been infested by number of third-party gas suppliers that do door-to-door soliciting. Some are more or less reputable; most are downright sleazy. The deal is, if you sign up with them, you will still get your gas delivered via the major utility company and you will pay via your regular utility bill. But the third party is actually the supplier. The claim is that you will save money by going third party. That is rarely true and cancelling can be nearly impossible.

The sleazebags usually claim to be with the main utility, or “working for them.” They ask to see your most recent bill so they can audit for you, to show you how to save. If you say you don’t have it, they will tell you to go online and get it. The least ethical will tell you that you have to cooperate. One told me that I would be fined by the state if I do not.

If you are lucky, all that happens is a heavy sales pitch. If you aren’t, the person captures the info from your bill and you are signed up without your knowledge.

News reports and social media are full of warnings about this. So much do that the genuine main utility is having problems getting access to inspect power and gas lines—even though they show up with marked trucks and ID cards. A contractor that does tree inspections near power lines is having a terrible time. I get phone calls, postcards, emails, and doorhangers announcing their imminent arrival of inspectors and technicians, with pictures of IDs and numbers to call with questions.

If you were in our area, you would indeed get accused of scamming. But the main utility would also make sure its customer service people knew about you.

  #3  
Old 04-09-2019, 06:42 PM
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taxguykarl taxguykarl is offline
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Quote:
Quoth nutraxfornerves View Post
Unfortunately, my area has been infested by number of third-party gas suppliers that do door-to-door soliciting.
In my neck of the woods, they robocall
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  #4  
Old 04-09-2019, 10:54 PM
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gerund gerund is offline
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Quote:
Quoth nutraxfornerves View Post
Unfortunately, my area has been infested by number of third-party gas suppliers that do door-to-door soliciting.
Here it is electricity suppliers. Our electricity used to be only supplied by the one state owned company who generated it. Now there are tens of (mostly) unregulated suppliers who claim huge discounts on an inflated price that overall works out more expensive.

The door to door solicitors are easy to pick. They are naive teenagers spouting a learned spiel. They claim to work for the electricity generator, but use weasel words in their explanation when you press them. I finally lost patience with them some years ago. The last one got:

"Why don't you go away and think of a better lie? I'm not showing you my bill and I'm not likely to swap to a provider who sends children to lie to me. Go away and lie to someone else!"

She looked for a brief period like she might cry. Later, I looked out the front window and it was raining and she was walking down the opposite side of the road with her head down. Maybe she needed that push to go get a proper job.

  #5  
Old 04-10-2019, 12:53 AM
nutraxfornerves nutraxfornerves is offline
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There are some truly dreadful exploiters of teenagers. The kids are hauled off to some remote location and ordered to sell, or else. "Or else" might mean "no lunch for you" or it might mean "sorry, you are now abandoned in this godforsaken town." Or, "you didn't make your quota--here's what you need to do instead."

It's more likely to be magazines than utilities, but it can be pretty grim. If you get a teenager at the door for any reason, it may be a good idea to ask them if they are afraid of what will happen if they don't make sales or to offer to help them.

  #6  
Old 04-10-2019, 08:00 AM
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gerund gerund is offline
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Quote:
Quoth nutraxfornerves View Post
There are some truly dreadful exploiters of teenagers. The kids are hauled off to some remote location and ordered to sell, or
I live in a major town a short (30 - 60 mins) rail trip from the state capital. There is good mobile reception, lots of cheap accommodation and lots of fast food places everywhere. No one is here if they don't want to be. No one will suffer unless they believe the bullshit.

  #7  
Old 04-10-2019, 05:43 PM
Sandman Sandman is offline
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I live in a city that has a municipal power company. The scammers think we get power from "major power company". I play with them as long as I can.

  #8  
Old 04-10-2019, 10:34 PM
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MadMike MadMike is offline
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Quote:
Quoth WishfulSpirit View Post
When our techs are out surveying and they find a home where the gas meter is inside, they leave a card on the door asking the customer to call (our number is listed) and schedule a meter inspection.
My last rental place had the meter inside, and that was a pain to deal with. They always tried to come during the day, since apparently the don't realize most people work during the day. They'd end up doing an estimate, which was much higher than what we actually used. When we moved out, they ended up owing us a couple hundred dollars. Not sure why they couldn't transfer the credit to the new house, but then nothing about that company really made much sense.

At some point, they sent us something telling us they had to get an actual reading, and asked us to schedule an appointment. They tried to give me a weekday appointment, and I told him, I work during the week. So they suggested another day, which also happened to be a weekday, and I repeated that I work during the week. They finally caved in an arranged a Saturday appointment.
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  #9  
Old 04-10-2019, 11:37 PM
WishfulSpirit WishfulSpirit is offline
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Quote:
Quoth MadMike View Post
My last rental place had the meter inside, and that was a pain to deal with.
That's why ours is moving all of them outside this year. Also I talked to Bossman about this and he told me what to tell customers to do to check our authenticity. They can check the website of the company or call customer care and give them our name. If only they'd tell that to their own employees.

As far as the scheduling thing, though, the inspection is required by public safety law. If you want to have public services, you need to comply with the laws regulating them. If you don't want to, that's fine, they'll just turn your gas off. I'm not making my guys work the weekends and miss the only time they get with their families because you think laws are optional.
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2019, 08:51 AM
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greek_jester greek_jester is offline
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Don't you have smart meters in the US? We've had them for several years over here, and it's wonderful. They install it and tie it into your gas and electric meters (if you have dual fuel), tie it into the wifi network, and they can check your meter reading in real time. Before I moved back into my late mother's house I hadn't had to send in a meter reading for 3 years but always had an accurate bill.
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