After our many difficulties with Irving Propane, things settled down for a while. I started thinking those were mostly "getting set up" problems but once you were into their regular flow, things would be mostly all right.
This autumn, our propane ran out. They didn't come check it for three or four months. Sure, in summer we don't use as much, but we do still heat water and cook. And it's Vermont: even in summer the furnace runs on some nights. But they sprang to once we called them and got us filled up within a day. It was a nasty hit on our finances to pay for a full tank from nothing, but we did all right.
Right after Christmas we got another delivery, and they left us a slip showing a cost in the $350 range, about where I expected it to be. On the morning of December 30, I found in my daily check of my accounts that they had actually debited more than $1200... putting the account $887 into the red. To avoid having it go into our line of credit and thus incur interest, I yanked pretty much every penny I had in savings (set aside for property taxes for next November) into the account. Even so it wasn't enough; it only covered it because, by luck and because of the holiday, my paycheck came in two days early and I was able to shuttle a little more into the account.
Within a few days we found out what had happened: they accidentally billed us for both our propane and the propane of two other customers. What's more, the driver had caught his mistake, but hadn't reported it correctly, had simply made a note on a slip somewhere that didn't get read. They would refund us the sizeable overcharge.
As of today they still haven't. They've been very blasé about the whole thing, not treating it as any kind of priority. Apparently, their accounting people only do work like that during part of the day and if the person you spoke to doesn't make it by that time of day, the whole thing gets dropped. We've had to get the credit union, with whom they have a deal for their members which is why we're with them in the first place, to lean on them, and even so we're now awaiting a "definite" arrival of the refund tomorrow morning for the third time.
How hard is this stuff, really?