Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And an update.

I just got off the phone with the heating oil company.  They said several things that were not true.  I didn't call them out on any of them except for a very gentle correction about one.  No implication that lies were involved.  It's actually kind of important that I didn't use the word lie, not even in the, "I'm not saying you're lying," form because when it did show up it was out of the blue.

But before that the yelling started, which did not include me.  That's ... odd.  Usually when things reach that point I've lost my emotional cool as well.  Honestly I'm totally unconvinced that the yelling was the result of emotions at all.  Earlier the person said, "You don't need to be rude to me," in a raised and hostile voice in spite of the fact that I hadn't been rude.  I could have been rude, damn could I have been rude, but I wasn't because more than I want to hold them accountable for what they've done before I WANT HEATING OIL.  Thus the, "Ignore my emotions and play nice," mode had been activated.  A mode that I usually am content to forget exists.

So I had to hold back when they said that my gauge was broken, it isn't.  That was their original claim.  That's why they didn't give me as much oil as had been paid for.  They claimed that despite all else indicating they'd put about an eighth of a tank in thus bringing the tank to a quarter full they had filled the tank.  It doesn't hold up now because the gauge reads empty and it is empty.  It'd be hard for them to argue that a bone dry tank is full regardless of what the gauge says.

I had to hold back on various things.  The one thing that offered gentle correction with was when they adopted the excuse my mother gave them, probably because it was better than their excuse.  They said that they can't fill up when the "still filling" whistle isn't going.  I pointed out that they'd done it before.  They offered three mutually exclusive explanations for why that was, at least one of which was, "Yeah we did it before, because some other oil company had gotten oil in a place reserved for air, so we couldn't hear the whistle but we totally still don't do it when we can't hear the whistle even though I just said we did."  The final one, though, went like this:

We didn't fill up when the whistle wasn't going, the evidence suggesting that we did was maliciously planted by another oil company which no one saw or heard that came on the same day as us but before us.  We were kind enough to clean that up out of our philanthropic hearts.  The fact that we didn't clean it up then, and instead did it well after the fact thus torpedoing this entire conspiracy theory, is a fact best ignored.

But none of that really mattered because the call ended like this:

"We don't have to deliver you oil at all.  We can just refund the money."

I tried to say that I know that they can do that but I want the oil.  I was cut off mid-sentence.

"We lie to our customers."  whut?

"We lie to our customers." Ok this is true but should you really be saying this for the record?

"We have a million customers;" This is a lie, they only operate in Maine, and even then only in parts of Maine.  For this to be true they'd need to have about 80% of the entire over 18 population of Maine individually paying them, with the remaining many, many heating oil companies (and non-oil heating systems) squabbling over the remaining 20%  That's not happening.  There's a possibility that they have 1,000,000 locations, though that still seems unlikely, but that's just because some people say, "I live here and am responsible for a business there, I don't want either building to freeze," or, "Hey, I've got two homes, bring oil to both."  But, like I said, they've got a lot of competition, they operate in a limited area, therefor they definitely don't have a million customers and they probably don't have a million locations even if many of their customers own second houses and businesses.

"we lie to our customers."  Again, weird thing to say on the phone.  Especially given the fact that voice was totally lacking in any of the usual signs of sarcasm.

"We can just pay you back."


Without commentary, this is how the phone call ended:

"We lie to our customers.  We lie to our customers.  We have a million customers; we lie to our customers.  We can just pay you back."
*hangs up phone*

[I should note that it might have been "over a million customers"]

My sister is of the theory that the company is trying to get rid of customers.  Various oil companies aren't accepting new customers and if this one over-extended itself it might want to be rid of old people.  Plus if the payment is locked in at the oil price when they were paid then given the oil price has gone up they save money if they can just refund your money and then resell the oil at the current price.

Some of the faux outrage presented as off the cuff in a moment of anger things that were said to me were word for word identical to things that were said to my sister before, though the, "We lie to our customers," finale was new.


Regardless new heating oil company has been found.  The, "Willing to deal with assholes" discount will be a thing of the past for my house.


  1. Well, good, but as you say weird.

    Are you in a position to record phone calls?

    1. Unfortunately no. I wish I'd gotten the, "We lie to our customers," trifecta on tape.

  2. WTF. Were they suddenly injected by some kind of truth serum while talking to you? (In which case "million of customers" isn't a lie - they just meant some different kind of customers, not oil-related.)


    1. That makes as much sense as any other explanation.

  3. I'm glad you found a new heating oil company. The previous one...um...wat. O_o Perhaps the person's cracking from having to offer horrible customer service for a terrible company?

    1. Other than the, "We lie to our customers," bit, it seems like something that fits perfectly well with the idea that they had too many customers to handle and are trying to shed some via being jerks. This is the first major cold of the year, so if the company got bloated over the summer when heating oil needed to be refilled far less frequently they might now be finding that they don't have the resources to deal with a time when all of their customers need their oil at similar times.

      And, as you say, intentionally doing horrible customer service for a company that is already terrible, could lead a person to crack.