It’s been a long time since a company managed to make The Shit List, but ladies and gents we have a new entry this week.
Having stepped off a 13 hour flight from Brazil I wasn’t perhaps in the best of moods when I arrived home to a freezing apartment and no hot water. At first I thought the boiler had packed up and it kinda had, but that wasn’t the main issue. It seems while I was away RheinEnergie had stopped my supply of gas.
My apartment was supposed to be “rent warm” which in Germany means the heating is included in the cost of the rent. But this seems to have been a mix up from when I moved in that I am only now finding out about.
Still, my immediate issue was warmth and a hot shower, so I called Rheinergie and with limited German was not able to get very far. I also had a friend call and she was unable to get very far either (as she wasn’t the account holder). Finally at the fourth attempt I managed to luckily get a lady who spoke enough English to tell me that I owed over 1,000 euros which is why my gas was cut off. Well, this is the first I am hearing of it, especially as I believed my heating was included in the rent.
Having spent a long time on the call, the upshot was if I didn’t pay the full amount I wouldn’t be reconnected. It mattered not that they insisted I had two customer numbers (one for electric and one for gas) yet had never had a single letter about the gas. It also didn’t matter that they had not sent me a bill for the gas in 13 months of living here. It also didn’t matter that for some odd reason, the electric was paid from the day I moved in, but that the gas didnt start being charged until 5 months later and a contract taken out in my name that wasn’t signed by me.
It also didn’t seem to matter that I had not been given fair warning of the cut off at ANY time or given the chance at any time since last May to pay anything towards an account for gas I knew nothing about.
This seems criminally unfair to me. Had I been sent a bill, I would have paid it or questioned it, but having been sent nothing, it is impossible I could have done anything about it.
Just for the record too, for my electric, which through a lack of German reading skills on my part, I fell behind in payment, I received not one, but 13 letters in the last 2 months showing what I owed. That seems a little overkill, but at least I knew how much I had to pay. Compare that with the lack of letters for the gas… When questioned about this, the customer services lady explained that “we have written to you in September for this”, which I didn’t receive. ONCE they wrote to me, ONCE in 13 months, compared to the 13 times for the electric in 2 months from the SAME company.
Obviously I need to pay the bill, that’s not the issue, but the treatment and rudeness of the staff (not to mention the Twitter account calling me a troll) and the obviously ridiculous lack of bills or letters leads to me to believe that RheinEnergie give zero fucks about their customers, have no real moral standing and treat people however they want to without a single shred of remorse for the position they put people in.
I am a fit and healthy man who can survive a couple of nights under a duvet with no heating or hot water, but what if this happens to an elderly person? With the amount of responses I got to this story on Twitter I can only see that I am not alone in these issues.
So rather than spending time answering “trolls” (first rule of social media: don’t respond to trolls, by the way) on Twitter you would be best served by reviewing your awful billing system and replace your customer service team with some reasonable people with a desire to help not hinder.
Even once the bill is paid today, my heating won’t be back for another 24 hours. Freezing my ass off in my own home for 48 hours is not the best way to come back from Brazil, but there are worse things that can happen to you. You could be a customer of RheinEnergie. Oh wait…