Fighting the gas company
Imagine opening a bill from the gas company and finding it's for a ridiculously large amount -- obviously an error. You'd think it would be easy to fix, right? Maybe not.
"I was sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe this could be possibly right," said Edith Elliot about the day she opened her monthly Terasen gas bill and saw an astronomical total.
"The bill was $11,834.55... for one month," she says.
It was such an obvious error, Elliot thought Terasen would quickly correct it. She was wrong. Terasen promised to look into it, but then she got a second bill -- again for over $11,000.
"I said it can't be it can't be right I can't have an almost $12,000 bill," she insisted to Terasen.
The third bill Elliot received bumped her monthly equal payment plan to nearly $2,000 per month. None of it made sense. And Elliot started to worry
"If I'm not using this product who is? Where is it going? Is it pooling up under my yard?" She wondered. "Is it pooling up under the road and all my neighbours are at risk? Are we all sitting on a bomb?"
Elliot did more research to prove the metre was at fault. She found out that running her high-efficiency furnace 24 hours a day for three months would consume less than one quarter of the gas Terasen said she used in one month. But the gas company wasn't backing down.
"Her attitude was they were right and I was wrong. If they had to come out here and change my meter it was going to cost me to do that," she explained.
Terasen expected Elliot to pay to change Terasen's faulty meter. Elliot got on the internet, looked up the company board of directors and sent three of them letters. They didn't respond and the stress was taking its toll.
"That's all you think about. Where am I supposed to get this money? Why won't somebody listen to what I'm saying this is so obviously wrong," she wondered.
And here's the kicker. Terasen says Elliot used all the gas in July, when her furnace wasn't even on.
After talking to Terasen every 10 days for two months, Elliot contacted CTV for help.
"Thank goodness there are people like your-self who will come out and say this is wrong let's do something about it and how can we fix it," she said.
We went to Terasen gas looking for answers. Mike Chisholm speaks for the company.
"We are doing everything we can to determine why the resolution of her situation was not dealt with in a timely manner," he explained.
We wanted to know if the company had apologized to her for what happened.
After that exchange Elliot did get a letter of apology and the charges reversed. Her account now shows a small credit.
Terasen is investigating how a customer complaint went unanswered for so long. True customer service requires common sense. When that's missing, companies earn a bad reputation.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen.