And here's an example of customer service issues that have gotten completely out of control.

For several years, I have had 2 properties served by Veolia, the Summit house and the Ashland house. Literally EVERY TIME I sent in payment, they would mess it up and apply the payments to the wrong account, resulting in a credit to one account and arrears to the other. Several phone calls, late charges, etc. later, they would solve it, only to make the exact same mistake in the next bill.

So I switched Ashland to e-bill. That way I could send the paper check from Summit, and pay Ashland on-line. I successfully do this for 2 billing cycles.

They forget to pick up the Christmas tree I asked them to haul, and by the time I got through to them to solve it it was too late, but at least the billing was correct.

Except then they "upgraded" the e-bill. Which apparently meant that everyone had to re-register, but they did not tell anyone that. So I didn't get an e-bill. I eventually got a paper bill, which I put aside until I realized "Hey, I have not gotten a bill in awhile" and promptly paid it.

I sent the bill on May 10, they processed it May 13, and it cleared my bank on May 16. They did not pick up the trash on the 17th or the 24th. I call today to see what is up with this, and basically they suspended service, and entered the check, so now I have a big outstanding credit.

So even though it's their fault that:
- they did not e-bill me
- that the entered the payment incorrectly

I have to pay them $30 to come out and pick up my trash. The "customer service" agent then decided it was appropriate to berate me for not opening the paper bill (you know, the one I was not supposed to get so was not looking for) and paying it earlier.

I terminated service (for which they plan to charge me $35 in a friendly touch), and immediately signed up with Allied Waste who was very helpful and happy to have my business.

I could go on in a parable about the customer service issues here, but I think you get my point. If you own a business, remember that YOUR CUSTOMERS ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE, even if you make it difficult for them to exercise that.


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