Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thank you, Irving!

For many years we've been customers of Gillespie Fuels for our propane. This year, however, their pre-buy price was higher than many competitors, and more importantly, our credit union set up a special deal with Irving Oil to get propane at a more reasonable price for members only. They kept the price low through a close partnership with the credit union, so they could draw directly from an account set up for this purpose there, keeping their costs down. It was a great price, so we decided to switch.

Propane dealers aren't allowed to fill each other's tanks, so Irving needed to make arrangements to switch our tanks. We asked Gillespie to stop filling our tank so we could run down the propane that was still in it, and when they finally picked up the tank, they could reimburse us for what was in it at that time, along with the credit we still have with them from last year's pre-buy. Irving said they'd put in a new tank on August 24th.

On July 24th, an Irving truck came and filled up our Gillespie tank and left us a bill, which would be automatically debited from our account. Whoops. Seems someone in customer service hadn't told someone who actually does the filling about the status of our account (not yet active for another month), and that person also didn't notice the big Gillespie logo on the tank. Big problem, because now there was no way to tell how much propane in that tank was Gillespie's.

We called. They were stumped for a bit but came up with a solution. When the guy came out to set up the new tank on August 24th, he'd transfer all the propane in it to the new tank. We'd already paid for it all, after all. Then Gillespie could pick up an empty tank and reimburse us for only the amount we'd overpaid last year. Okay, a bit of a hassle, but no problem.

I was home on August 24th so I could make sure this all got done right. The guy who put the tank in had never heard anything about this situation. He radioed back to base and then told me, sorry, they didn't tell me about this and I'm not scheduled for it, someone will have to come back next week to do the transfer. So we're delayed another week or so before we can get the money Gillespie owes us from last year, but we can live with that.

He suggested that this transfer would be scheduled for me, but we didn't trust it. Today, Siobhan called to try to get a firm idea of when it would happen. No one at Irving could answer, but they said they'd know by tomorrow.

Tonight we got home to find a $575 bill from Irving. Apparently, someone came out and filled the new tank. Now they're going to debit our account again. And we have one full and one almost-full tank in our backyard, with no way for them to transfer the propane because there's no room to transfer it into. Naturally, there's no one at Irving who can even speculate about what will happen next. We can call first thing in the morning and try to beat them to processing the bill.

They really need to figure out how to talk to one another.

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