A little background, as if this letter isn’t long enough: The following is a copy of an email I sent Monday morning and still have not received a response. Today I sent this same e-mail to every address on the MLGW website, and posted it on their facebook, and made reference to it on twitter. Not my best work, but I’m pretty hostile right about now.
Friday afternoon I came home from work to a door tag explaining that I was about to walk into a house with no lights, gas, or water because I hadn’t paid my bill. I found that pretty odd considering my bill had, in fact, been paid earlier in the week. The receipt was still on the refrigerator containing my now spoiled groceries.
One very long weekend and over an hour on hold later, I finally get some answers from the fine folks at MLG&W. Apparently, the cashier my husband was lucky enough to have, was unable to do whatever basic math or reading that is necessary to give us an accurate minimum balance that needed to be paid in order to avoid an interruption in services. Her “guess” was that $275 was due. The unfortunate reality was that $285 was due. A ten dollar mistake on her part that cost our family so much more. After a surprisingly pleasant conversation with a clerk on the phone, we learned that we were, for all intensive purposes, screwed. Although only a ten dollar discrepancy, we were unable to just pay that difference because once your utilities are off, you have to pay the full amount to have them reactivated plus a reconnection fee …Even if the mistake was not on our part. Further, we were told that because face-to-face conversations are not recorded, that there was no evidence that we were telling the truth.
Now for some questions:
1.) Assuming I am a liar, and that the cashier did actually tell us $285 was due to avoid shut-off, why would we have made that decision to give just $275? Have you ever met a person who said to you, “Oh my, if my utilities are going to be cut off if I pay less than $285, than I should definitely only pay $275. That way, they can disconnect them AND I’ll be blessed enough to pay a reconnection fee, too! This is a great idea!” …exactly. People don’t do that. No one wants to just throw away money. At least no one I’ve ever met.
2.) During the hiring process, are there any competency tests that filter out those who cannot read or do basic math? If not, I’d suggest implementing one. It would be a quick way to raise efficiency, lower complaints, and have an all-around happier customer base. Then you can avoid having to read annoying e-mails like this one.
3.) Does other people’s sadness bring you (or your supervisors) any sort of personal joy? That might seem a little harsh, but it’s hard to be left with any other impression. Ridiculously high bills, long hold times, permanently disgruntled employees, sub-par service, and a delightful bureaucratic circle of passing the buck around so that nothing ever gets done, all point in the direction of a company that really doesn’t care at all about anything other than raking in their profits, even at the expense of their customers.
4.) While on the phone today, I was told that if we had just called MLGW in the first place, instead of going in-person to pay my bill, that the call would have been recorded and we would have had proof of the amount we were told to pay. I’m a bit concerned that this is even an issue. Why are so many employees of MLG&W so untrustworthy that we are advised to call so that we have evidence of our claim. Furthermore, if this is the case, why not save some time and frustration and just have all business conducted over the phone?
5.) What is MLG&W going to do about the $300 I spent at the grocery store Thursday night that transformed into a spoiled, rancid, melted mess by the time I got home from work Friday afternoon because some incompetent fool allowed my family’s utilities to be wrongfully shut off? Are you going to take that money out of my utility bill? More importantly: Are you going to make my kids’ lunches this week? Are you going to explain to my four-year-old daughter that we can’t make a cake for her birthday because the nice people at MLG&W ruined the milk and eggs? Are you going to come over and convince my three-year-old that she doesn’t need a night light to keep the boogie man away? Will you tell my eight-year-old that cold showers are all the rage these days? All because some woman didn’t know the difference between $275 and $285. Have you ever tried to clean out a refrigerator in the dark with soap and cold water? It’s not easy, my friend, but you’re welcome to come over and give it a try any day this week.
And finally, because I’m sure you’re tired of reading such negativity, I will leave you with a compliment: Thank you, MLG&W for helping to teach my family that we don’t need the comforts of air conditioning, hot showers, home-cooked meals, or Wheel of Fortune to still have a good time with each other. We grow closer every day because of you.
Thank you for your time,