You really have to hand it to Mr James B. Paterson, the UK marketing director of that caring organisation ScottishPower…the man’s a marketing genius.
At the end of that very nice letter he sent me when I foolishly renewed my gas boiler “Home Comfort” care package with his employers, he reminded me:
“One again, thanks for being a ScottishPower customer. You can relax now that you are covered for another year”.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel very relaxed especially since this is TENTH day without hot water or central heating while the repair man won’t be here until tomorrow, allegedly.
It is, of course, my own stupid fault because when the boiler broke down in the middle of winter 15 months ago, it took ScottishPower FIVE days to get the part to fix it which, wait for it, had to come all the way from England.
Yes that’s right; ScottishPower, the energy giant with its headquarters in Glasgow, don’t keep essential common parts in Scotland to ensure they can repair boilers as fast as possible and keep their promise that customers really can “enjoy the benefits of Home Comfort”.
Even worse, in this day and age when everything gets ordered online and can be dropped to your door within 24 hours, ScottishPower appear to be using an archaic system which, in my case, has resulted in a wait of nearly two weeks.
This is the service and customer care offered by ScottishPower all for £17.90 a month, thank you very much.
Naturally, when I was last left in the lurch with no heating or hot water as the temperature hovered around freezing point, I was so angry that my relationship with ScottishPower was over and wild horses wouldn’t drag me to renew my Home Comfort contract.
But somehow the direct debit banking arrangement slipped through the net and, before I knew it, the contract had automatically been renewed and couldn’t be ended or another 12 months.
So when a strange noise started to emit from the boiler two weeks ago, my heart sank. Was this the beginning of another battle with ScottishPower as we froze waiting for them to act? You betcha!
I immediately phoned their inappropriately named hotline to warn them that the boiler was on the blink.
Could they please send a repairman to give the boiler its annual service?
Alas, it was all in vain; the boiler gave up before the man could arrive and I had to start the repair process all over again.
When the next repairman did arrive at teatime on the appointed day, it turned out that the fan which keeps the boiler cool had stopped turning and this in turn had shut down the system.
But don’t worry sir; this is a simple repair; we’ll get the part ordered and it should be here within 24 hours.
I began to think that maybe I’d previously been too harsh on Scottish Power but reality soon became apparent.
Of course, neither their call centre system nor their operators are equipped to answer important questions such as: “How long do you think it might take before the boiler is repaired? Answer: don’t know.
So I did what any unhappy customer would do and immediately went online to source a new fan myself.
It took all of two minutes to identify the part, pop it into the virtual basket and order next day delivery straight to my address.
Back to ScottishPower to ask them that if I could order the part and get it here in super-quick time, then why couldn’t they?
“Sorry” was the reply. “We can only order parts from our own supplier and that will take between 7 and 10 days.”
So the waiting continues…the boiler sits silent…and the blood pressure rises.
Thank you again Scottish Power.