November 8, 2006

Back in the Chill

British Gas fixed our boiler but the beast died again. When the tech was here last Friday, for the first visit, he condemned the 20 year old clunker and said we needed to get a new one as soon as possible. He would fix the current one but it wouldn’t last. Very true.

Photo of our boiler with mysterious burn spot, post-it notes with my instructions for operating the beast, and a tag from British Gas condemning the appliance. Gas detector is mounted on the wall. This is in our kitchen above the sink.

You would think that a company that has condemned our appliance and offered to fix it would actually give me a call back to make an appointment for an estimate. Appointment equals customer spending money. Nope. I am now stuck in the bureaucratic hell that is the remnants of a former national utility. I have spoken to no fewer than six representatives from British Gas just to make an appointment. Still nothing on the calendar.

Repeatedly I am told that this customer service rep or that supervisor will call me back. When I call to follow up they say, “Oh yes, it is on her desk, she only works three evenings a week and she’s trying to get a hold of the district supervisor to set up an appointment for you and he only works during the days. When I do get someone on the phone I either can’t understand what they are saying – accent issues on both sides – or I don’t know what they are talking about – technical jargon. Now the estimate is £3,000 (=$6,000) to put in a new boiler because of gas lines. Of course this is based on phone conversations and no actual visit as of yet.

If I can find their nearest office location I'm going to bed down for the night in the lobby, it has to be warm.