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June 26th, 2009

Nicor’s Customer Service: Awful.

Last Thursday the wife and I came home to hear (and smell!) a very large natural gas leak outside our house. We quickly got the dog out and called Nicor, our natural gas company.

They sent out a technician who arrived within 40 minutes. He went to work for a while and soon told us that he could do a temporary fix in order for us to get our gas back on, but a bigger crew would need to come out and do an honest-to-gosh fix the next day, Friday. This sounded fine to us. Unfortunately, Nicor’s computers disagreed.

The next day we got a blue tag on our front door, which indicates that our gas is off (duh) and needs to be turned back on. Called Nicor as requested and was told that “everything was done” according to The System and a tech could come out and turn everything back on. This was fine to me except for the fact that there was a 3′ deep hole in the ground next to our gas meter (filled with water thanks to storms), a construction cone was on our lawn, and our gas meter was no longer attached to our house. The tech on the phone indicated that the person they sent out would be able to fix this. No one came out by lunchtime.

In the evening we called Nicor again, and explained the whole deal. This time they sent out a tech – giving us a lovely 2 hour block of time to wait for him – and he was actually very helpful. “That job’s not done!” he said. “I know!” I explained how the office folks were convinced everything was done because The System said it was. He assured me he would tell his boss that it wasn’t done and to expedite it. Great, I thought – the guy was nice, friendly, and competent.

Monday came along. No one came out. Multiple phone calls, and The System says everything is hunky-dorey. Oh, but they’ll get someone out Tuesday.

Tuesday comes. No one. Called them up and confirmed that we were supposed to have someone come out that day. And someone… did! At 4pm. Which is fine because as I later learned, Nicor works until 12. Instead though, the tech told me that this job was “an all day job” and “too big” to start on so late in the day. So they did a little marking of the lawn, did no work, and left about an hour later.

Wednesday… nothing. Phone calls were fruitless. We’re noticing more earwigs in our house, which we’re attributing to the giant, 3′ deep water hole next to our home’s foundation.

Thursday came along. Multiple phone calls again. Was once told we needed to be home for the service folks, and later told we didn’t need to be home. But The System said we were “ready”, which indicated that we would be next on the appointment list. This would be fine except for the fact that it was just about 5pm at this point. The phone tech informed me everyone worked until midnight… which jives beautifully with Tuesday’s story, when 8 hours wasn’t enough time, apparently. The crew never came, surprise surprise.

That leads me to today. I called Nicor on the walk to work, spoke with five different people, was disconnected three times, and finally got through to The Department who can apparently really tell me what in the world is going on in The System. As I called too early (!), I left a voicemail after being assured I’d get a call back today. Surprise surprise, it hasn’t happened.

Seriously, folks, in this economy companies should be more like Neuton, actually trying to keep their customers happy. I hit a breaking point with Nicor just because I’d been promised basically every day that someone would be out, and no one is. Look for my “Nicor sucks” Facebook group soon.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

Paul June 29, 2009, 5:27 pm

As additional notes, The Wife spoke with Nicor on Friday and was told that a crew would be out today to fix it. (Not sure if they’re there, just yet…)

I also emailed Nicor’s customer service this Ping. The reply? “Please call us for assistance.” (sigh)

Paul June 29, 2009, 7:24 pm

And hey, Nicor is actually fixing it today! Amazing… all it took was over a dozen phone calls and more than a week. Blah, I say.

Paul June 30, 2009, 4:31 pm

Aaand… the repair is now done.

The next step is waiting up to 30 days for the landscapers to come out and repair the (moderate!) damage to our lawn.

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