Most of us get an ever increasing feeling that business exists not so much to provide a decent service but, just like government, to squeeze us dry. In recent months we have had two particularly stress inducing episodes.
First there is our very own British Gas saga. I say 'our very own' because everybody seems to have a British Gas horror story. Back in April we got a bill for £780, that despite them taking monthly direct debits. I phoned and gave them the current meter reading. They promised me that the bill would be corrected, we do after all live in a terraced house rather than a country mansion. A few weeks later the red bill arrived. I phoned them again and, after a lenthy conversation discovered that they were unaware that two years previously we had had a new meter fitted. So I gave them all the details and was promised that the bill would be sorted and a new bill sent. I was told that the old meter was imperial, the new one metric so the bill would be nearer £30 than £800. All was well then. Or was it?
A few more weeks passed and I received a letter threatening court action if we didn't pay up. So I rang again and was told that they had all the details but another department was dealing with it and they would be informed that they had the wrong information. I was told not to worry they would sort it out. That was a relief. Or was it?
A few weeks later I got a letter telling me that they were starting legal action and would be cutting off our gas supply. So I phoned again and spoke to an extremely pleasant fellow who was actually as piss useless as all the other titheads I had spoken to. So, after about eight calls to him, promising each time that he was diferent and would sort it, I went hrough the ombudsman. Lo and behold within a day it was sorted. Or was it?
I was told that they had the new meter detals but had mistakenly taken the first reading from zero. It had been put in two years before we went back to British Gas. The actual bill, we found out in September, was £25, by then we had stopped the direct debits. So we paid the bill and changed supplier. So that was that. Or was it?
Two weeks ago we got a cheque for £470. It was for what British Gas owed us!
Last week I changed my car. Yesterday I rang the breakdown people to inform them of the new details. I was told that we had no cover. Luckily Mrs B had kept the receipts, we had stupidly bought Tesco's breakdown cover. I then made a second call to be told the same and that I should go back to the store for a refund. So I did.
At the store I was told that we did have cover but I had rung the wrong number. So I asked which number I should have rung. She gave me the correct number and it was the one I had rung. I then told her that was the one I had rung and she told me that I hadn't, so I said I had, and so the call went. That saga is still ongoing but Mrs B is dealing with it as I reached for my baseball bat eventually to take out my frustration on a nearby inanimate object.
And each saga was exacerbated by phoning and getting endless stupid messages and options to press before I got to speak to a human being, or somebody nearly human!
We really are all doomed.