What were they thinking?

December 15 2008 by Ellen Roseman

Here’s a new rule I’ve developed. The more quickly a consumer complaint is resolved, the more embarrassed a company is about how it behaved — and the more anxious it is to avoid getting anything into the newspaper.

How else can I explain the one-day wonders, the cases where customers beat their heads against a brick wall for months and get instant answers once they contact me?

So today, I’m starting a new feature in the blog. These are complaints so outlandish that you can’t imagine how companies can ignore them for as long as they do.

In other words, what were they thinking?


  1. Jamie

    Dec 16 2008

    Here’s a timely story for the recent post on Zellers pricing issues, and the headline “what were they thinking”.

    It doesn’t get much worse than running advertising, over a month, where your own stores don’t understand what is being advertised on sale — to the point where you suffer massive losses across Canada and competitors are posting correction notices for your flyer in their stores.


  2. scrowell

    Dec 24 2008

    I wanted to purchase a gift basket for my father as a Christmas surprise for him as I no longer live in Edmonton. I googled Edmonton gift baskets and Bloomex’s website came up and I saw one I liked. I had never dealt with Bloomex before ( so shame on me for not researching this company ).

    I called the phone number listed on their website for Edmonton and questioned why it did not have an Edmonton area phone number. The young lady who took the order said that it didn’t really matter as all calls are answered in a central location and that there would be no problem in making a delivery to Edmonton. As it was a Sunday, she assured me that the delivery could be made the next day, ie Monday the 22.

    The delivery was NOT made on the 22nd and I spent hours online with the LIVE OPERATOR window and sent emails to finally get one response indicating that as there is no local facility in the Edmonton area they had to ship it overnight !!

    Why didn’t the operator who took my call make me aware of that ! And, why are they advertising deliveries in the Edmonton area when they do NOT have facility there.

    Bloomex’ customer service is the WORST I have ever encountered. It is virtually impossible to get a real person to respond to your concerns AFTER you have placed an order and they have taken your money.

    It is now Dec 24 and the order has not yet been delivered. I can’t get anyone to respond from their online chat service and my all my emails have gone unanswered.

    As a result of this, I decided to find out who owns Bloomex and also found out he has made several comments on your website defending his company’s customer service. I want him to know I have a valid order, 856339, and have received virtually no customer service at all.

    I would like to warn anyone thinking of using this company for their floral needs …. don’t do it – you will regret it! They will take your money gladly and you will have nothing but frustration as a result.

    If the delivery doesn’t make it today, then my Christmas surprise for my father will have been ruined. I feel as if I have just been cheated out of my hard-earned money by a greedy corporation who doesn’t even care enough to respondto my legitimate concerns re: my order.

    Please be aware of Bloomex and my advice is to stay away from them and do not use their services. Use the yellow pages and call a small local shop. At least they will answer the phone when you call, and will let you know the status of your order.

  3. FK

    Dec 24 2008

    We noticed that our furnace was leaking on Dec. 16 and called Direct Energy, who sent out a technician the same day. He told us the problem was simple to fix, and he would order the parts for us.

    On Dec. 18, after the parts arrived, another technician came out and told us that the first technician was wrong and we needed a new heat exchanger, which he would order for us. In the meantime, he shut off the furnace.

    On Dec. 19, after the replacement heat exchanger arrived, we called Direct Energy and were given an appointment on the next day. When no technician showed up, we were told that the “customer service rep” didn’t enter the appointment into their computer system and a technician would be there the next day.

    On Dec. 21, the technician came with an assistant and spent two hours trying to fix the furnace. They finally told us the part that had been ordered for us was the wrong part and they would order the right part for us.

    I spent most of the day on Dec. 22 talking to various people in the Executive Support department. I was told that the part was in transit, that the part we had was the right one all along and nothing was in transit, and that Direct Energy had to check with the manufacturer to find out what part they should be using.

    Along the way, I found out that members of the Executive Support Team, while working for the president, are accountable to no one and have no ability to go outside their process to fix problems. There also seems to be a problem with their phone system, which is the only explanation I can come up with regarding their many, many broken promises to look into something and call me back.

    Once again on Dec. 23, I spent much of the day on the phone with members of the Executive Support Team. Finally, I was told there was a new part on the way that would be delivered some time that day. Another technician would be here on Dec. 24 between 1 and 5 to install it.

    On Dec. 24, a Direct Energy truck pulled up in our driveway, asked if the part had been delivered, checked the part and then left. When I called to ask what had happened, I was told that was the second technician, and the first technician had been there an hour ago, knocked on the door (I am still scratching my head to try and figure out why he didn’t ring the doorbell) and left. They also told me that dispatch had called us to inform us that a technician was there (they didn’t, because I was sitting beside the phone all day).

    We are now told that the soonest a technician can be here is Saturday, Dec. 27. This means that by the time our furnace is fixed (assuming they actually fix it this time), we will have been without heat for 9 days, through 2 winter storms, and will have run up a huge electric bill to power the space heaters we are forced to rely on to keep the house at a livable temperature.

    I have told Direct Energy that we will be pursuing compensation through their internal escalation process and filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau at a minimum, but they don’t seem to care.

    In all my dealings with them in the past week and a half, I have yet to find a single competent person working in that organization.

  4. SLL

    Jan 15 2009

    If you book an appointment by phone to have a piece of equipment installed in your home and then cancel that appointment prior to the installation date, how can you be charged a restocking fee?

    We had a technician from this company out to our home to look at our faulty equpment. It was going to cost as much to repair it as it would cost to have a new one installed. This is not equipment that is a necessity to have in order for our household to run.

    We had to cancel the appointment twice due to financial issues. We told them that we would call back and rebook when we were able to afford it.

    We didn’t sign a contract and no one ever told us during all our email conversations that we would have to pay a restocking fee. They didn’t say anything on the phone when we cancelled the appointment.

    Now they are sending us to collections for a restocking fee that we refuse to pay, as this was never disclosed.

    Can this be done if they have absolutely no documentation that they discussed it with us or a got a signed contract?

  5. lorraine

    Feb 10 2010

    I am not pleased with the decision that was made by Rogers to charge an additional $250 to my bill.

    I sent my phone in because the ball was sticking and would not roll. I am not the only one that has been having similar issues with my Blackberry Bold.

    I received a letter from Rogers with a picture that looks like a marker, saying it was watermark. How do I know it was actually water that was in the phone?

    When I was talking to the customer service rep, he was not even listening and was very rude and argumentative.

    I had no other problem except that the ball was sticking. This was my 3rd phone I am replacing, so why am I being penalized for something that is not my fault?

    If I am paying for this phone, should I not get back the phone?

    My understanding was that the fee would be reversed after speaking to the prior rep. I was shocked to see this charge on my bill. This is not fair.

  6. Gary

    Jun 17 2010

    Short quick outline of my story. Purchased a house in Feb 2010, got my first bill from Enbridge in March…checked out the bill as it was astronomical, so went and checked the meter reading (it says they did a reading on this bill).

    Ironically, it was far less than what I was billed for, so I called and they opened a case. Gave them the meter reading and they said they would send someone out right away to ensure I had given the proper reading (OK to second guess my reading, but it’s just 5 simple numbers on my meter).

    So jump to April, May and June…still getting bills on all 3 months, all with estimates,. Each time I call to correct the issue, because they are charging me for over 300 cubic meters each month and I’ve used less than 100.

    I get every excuse about why it’s still not correct and why my case isn’t yet resolved. I’ve been told the meter reader could not open the gate; there was a dog in the back yard; they were not allowed on my property; and it’s hard to use the new computer/web based system.

    Now today, I get told that it could take another 3 months to resolve. Meanwhile, my account billing has been suspended till this is resolved (because I refuse to pay 600 dollars for gas that I have never even used).

    I have been proactive in trying to rectify the issue, as well as not to get dinged with a $600 bill. I’ve giving them actual meter readings each month since I got my first bill and still no answers. The case is still pending.

    So, four months and still no resolution. I know I would get fired for not doing something for over 3 months at my work…how the hell do they get away with this?

  7. mn

    Sep 15 2010

    hello i would like to know if enbridge is allowed to go into my property and cut the gas with out me knowing about it

  8. Brenton Kennedy

    Sep 27 2010

    Ellen, I am NOT a satisfied customer of Enbridge… better to say I am a new customer of Enbridge, but they seem to think I am a recurring customer, if you will.

    I will try and take a few lines here to explain.

    In July of 2009, I noticed that an unpaid Enbridge bill appeared in my credit report. I called Enbridge, which was no help because they did not have any record of me in their system.

    I called the credit bureau, which also was no help because they could not find anything under my name.

    I paid for another credit check to be done and the information sent to me (just to make sure there weren’t any mistakes). To my dismay, I saw that it was added as of December 2008.

    I called Equifax to challenge this outlandish claim. The kind lady on the phone told me it would take 30 days to resolve. After 45 days and several calls later, I received a letter from them claiming that this information is factual.

    Furious over this notion, I continued to call the credit bureau. This process was taking too long to get a straight answer. Life crept up and this issue was pushed to the backburner.

    About 1.5 months ago, I finally got hold of someone at the credit bureau who was able to give me all the information about the account.

    I called Enbridge and talked to their credit division, providing them the information. They admitted over the phone that this account was not mine, nor did it even resemble an account that could be mine. They would escalate this issue and I would be contacted in about 7 days.

    On the 9th day, I called back. They told me that this ticket has been escalated to the highest point they could and the lady who was helping me was not in the office that day. He would send her an e-mail to provide me with an update.

    Also, they said they do not deal with the credit bureau listed on the account… How does any company not deal with them in some way, shape or form?

    One month went by and nothing happened. I then followed the escalation process for Enbridge on their website. I contacted the Ombudsman to resolve my complaint. The site states someone will contact you within 24 hrs… it has been 2+ weeks now.

    I have been told by a lawyer to open a case with Ontario Board of Energy, but not to expect that they will do anything in the short run.

    I was also told that I should contact any outside help as well to put “pressure” on Enbridge to resolve this issue.

    The lawyer said there was nothing they would be able to do to support me in this fight, other than to do the same things I am already doing.

    What I need to know is: Who protects the common worker from such outlandish claims, which can ruin our lives?