Monday, February 01, 2010

Hopeless Homeserve Heating Fail

I have just spent the better part of 2 hours on a telephonic merry-go-round with Homeserve and their service company Valent.

We have paid them via Glow-worm, a small fortune over the last decade for a repair plan for our boiler which we had never needed until now.

Yesterday our boiler stopped working so we have neither heating nor hot water. I reported it to the 24 hour claim hotline expecting that they would send someone out today. It seems that every call you make over the weekend gets lumped together as having arrived at 8am on Monday morning and they told me that there are no engineers available until Wednesday.

By that time we'll have been without heating or hot water for 3 days before someone will even have looked at it.

Ok, it's not much fun for us, but I guess we'll have to cope. However, a delay like that could put the lives of someone elderly or chronically sick in jeopardy.

I understand from replies I've had on Twitter that this is outrageously bad service. One friend said that her company had someone out within 2 hours when their boiler failed the day before Hogmanay. Homeserve has been universally trashed. Words like "would never have anything to do with them ever again" and "useless".

It's all a far cry from their literature. I have the policy renewal in front of me which says:

"if you have a central heating breakdown or emergency, simply call the 24 hour emergency hotline number and quote your policy number. Our nearest available Glow-Worm engineer will be directed to you and will aim to be there as soon as possible."

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like it's going to take half a week.

When I complained to Valent, the people who organise the engineers, I was told I needed to take it up with Homeserve. When I spoke to Homeserve, they told me I needed to take it up with Valent. I am sparing you the gory details of being passed from pillar to post by a succession of extremely rude, uncaring people at both companies.

There is a recession on, and I bet you there are any number of out of work heating engineers who would be desperate to be taken on by these people. It's maybe about time they started taking some of them on rather than leave vulnerable people for days with no heating or hot water.

And, finally, this little gem from their policy blurb:

The operator will also tal you through any temporary action you can tae to minimise any damage until they arrive.

Now, I had couple of questions I wanted to ask and the operator said that she wasn't technically trained and I'd need to ring another number. The second she's said 09, I asked how much it was going to cost me. Apparently 60p per minute. Nowhere on any of the policy detail does it mention paying such a sum for emergency advice. I said that there was no way I was paying that and given the wording in their letter I'd like them to arrange for someone to call me.

Now, apparently the staff who answer the phones can't put me through to these people because the number is barred on their phones. However, they've promised to send an e-mail to them to get them to call me back.

I won't be holding my breath.


Keith Legg said...

That's really bad. Our boiler failed on the Saturday before Christmas, and we didn't have a service contract with anybody. Phone British Gas - not a company normally renowned for good customer service - at 10.30am and had the boiler fixed and c/h back on before lunch at 12.30pm.

Needless to say, we now have a service contract with BG!

LibCync said...

Write to them and make them refund (at least some of ) your premiums!


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