Saturday, December 17, 2005

dealing with reliance takes energy

i've been encountering problems with reliance energy since october. to be fair to them they actually managed to have our electricity supply restored pretty quickly after the deluge in july. some of the other residents of the eastern suburbs might not share this opinion of them. but getting back to the point at hand, they billed us for roughly 10 times our monthly usage. this kind of thing does manage to get one's attention.

well, after an entertaining 15 minutes that i spent on the phone with their customer support person i was convinced that the americans did have a point when they complained about ineffectual call-centre workers. but i must say that they are well trained to deal with irate, abusive customers on what i imagine must be a regular basis. i mean, when was the last time you called a service provider to thank them for timely, efficient and friendly service. thats not what we do. the problem with the service industry is that most consumers only notice it when they have a problem.

anyway, the chick registered the complaint and even gave me a complaint number that i was supposed to quote the next time i call them so that i can track the progress they might have made. this turned out to be a complete waste of time. they stonewalled me for close to a month and a half before they gave me a contact at their local service station. they even admitted to the fact that they hadn't gotten anything done during the interim.

trust me when i say their phone operators are well trained to deal with irate customers. i've thoroughly tested them and they never lose their cool, not even when you're telling them stories about evolution and the food chain that highlight their family tree and its associated lack of glamour.

to make matters worse they even billed me an equally exorbitant sum of money for the next month. brilliant strategy.

as a student of economics (the practical kind) i'm inclined towards privatising the erstwhile public sector but this kind of 'service' only shuts us free-market proponents down. a conspiracy theorist could say that ambani is in this business as a favor to his right wing radical cohorts and will run it so badly that the paying public will clamour for the good old days when a peon in the public sector enterprise could insult them and run them down between cups of tea.

coming back to the story, they did eventually replace our billing meter. but they have yet to adjust our bills to reality. just this morning they've disconnected the electricity supply. since its only our home without it in the neighbourhood, i'm inclined to think this has something to do with the same billing problem. i'm thinking i'll move house.

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