Tag Archives: Stupid

Direct Energy Rental Terms Change

It was recently announced that Direct Energy was changing the rental terms on their hot water tanks. While this isn’t normally a cause for concern for existing customers, Direct Energy decided that they were going to try to move all existing rental customers onto the new contract, without their consent. A form letter was mailed out to all existing customers (basically, anyone who started renting before September 2010 which is when the current rental terms came into effect). This includes some customers who have had the same rental hot water heater for 15+ years!

The biggest problem with this whole fiasco is that they were planning on moving customers without their consent. Basically, a form letter was sent to customers (I don’t seem to have received one yet) that could easily be confused as “addressed junk mail”. Apparently, buried somewhere in this letter is wording that states you will automatically be moved to the new contract unless you call and state you want to remain on the old contract. Well shit! Most people have already tossed the letter as it seems to be about new terms. If you are already on a contract, why would you expect the terms to change on you – it’s a damn contract!

OK, so aside from the shady contract change, what’s different in the new contract? It’s going to be a whole lot more expensive to get out of your rental contract.

The minimum to get out under the new contract is $274. On the old contract it was $75.

But that all depends on the actual water heater you have and it’s age.

User Belfour on the RedFlagDeals.com forum posted the Direct Energy 2012 Buyout Schedule. According to that and using my ~8 year old Polaris 34G as an example, it would cost me $3153 to buy out my tank. That’s insane! I can buy and install a brand new Polaris for not much more than that. On top of that, the buyout prices are going to increase each year.

Ellen Roseman (From The Star) wrote a post Direct Energy curbs competition with new contracts and the first comment from Dave indicates that according to the 2009 Direct Energy buyout schedule (which is no longer available online) to buyout a 15+ year old Polaris 34G tank it was only $100. Under the new 2012 Direct Energy buyout schedule it is $1092! WTF? What was a 15 year old tank in 2009 is an 18 year old tank now and it’s suddenly almost $900 more to buy it out?

UPDATED: I found my local copy of the 2009 Direct Energy buyout schedule [PDF].

And now it seems Direct Energy has realized that they may have just derailed their gravy train with this idiotic attempt to grab more money. According to CTV Toronto, Direct Energy backs down on water tank contract changes.

“We have not communicated this initiative as well as we could have.” – Rob Comstock, senior vice president of Canadian services for Direct Energy

Well, frankly Rob, NO SHIT SHERLOCK!

There’s one big problem with trying to fleece consumers this way – they tend to not forget. I know I won’t forget. I am going to be exploring my options soon to see what I can do about my rented Polaris 34G water heater. While it has been nice having the “included insurance” due to the number of issues we had with the tank, I’m confident now that if a competent installer had been involved (and not Direct Energy installers) I would never had so many problems. Direct Energy has already collected almost $3500 from me in rental fees since we bought this house and you can be damn sure I’m done renting tanks. As long as the “old” contract terms remain in effect, they may get some more rental money while I look but the replacement tank will NOT be rented from Direct Energy.

Bell Canada Still Sucks at Customer Service

Bell Canada Still Sucks!

Bell Canada still sucks, even with a new logo.

Bell Canada still sucks, even with a new logo.

I know, I know, everyone knows that Bell Canada still sucks.  There’s nothing new about this statement.  I’ve bitched about Bell Canada 611 before and I’ve complained about ExpressVu and Mobility also.

Well, after receiving my latest bill from Bell Canada, I was painfully reminded yet again that Bell Canada still sucks.

Background of the Problem

In mid-December I decided that I had paid too much for my Bell Internet for too long.  It was time to can their ass and move to Primus.  Bell was charging me $47.95/month while Primus was/is offering pretty much the exact same DSL Internet for $34.95/month.  Oh, and I would also be able to purchase the modem so I wouldn’t keep paying that damn $2.00/month “modem rental fee” that mysteriously showed up on my bill one month a while back.

The Offer

Yeah, so I didn’t actually dump Bell Internet like I should have.  I managed to get to the “retention agent” pretty quickly and that’s where I got conned.  I was offered a deal – $36.95/month for 12 months and my home phone would be reduced to $9.95/month for the first 6 months and then go up to $14.95/month for the last 6 months.

Damn, that’s not a half bad deal considering I was just calling to cancel so I could get a better rate for high speed internet with Primus.  I figured that staying with Bell would save me the hassle of actually switching and I could put up with one more year of their crap.

The agent even went the extra mile and emailed me a confirmation number with a summary of the offer. Swell.

What Went Wrong?

I wish I knew!

I received my Bell bill today and popped it open to check and see what my new monthly charges would be.  Well, when I saw a bill for almost $250 I nearly lost it.  I didn’t even have to look at the bill to know they had really screwed it up considering my “normal” bill is less than $150 and with the new offer, it should have been very close to $100.

I immediately grabbed the phone and called 310-India.  Oh, no, I mean I called 310-BELL. While swearing like a trucker at automated Emily to get to a real person, I discovered why my bill was so high.  For some reason Bell had decided to active the second phone line that goes to my house. I’ve never had that second line active since we bought the house and I have never made a request to activate the line. Now I’m paying for two phone lines and the activation charge to setup that second line.  On top of that, they had changed my internet so I was now paying $50.95/month!

Needless to say, the offer I was given by the retention agent didn’t quite show up on my bill.

I spent almost an hour on the phone with three different agents getting dicked around.  Even with my confirmation number, they couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. They were able to see when I made the call and everything but apparently they couldn’t figure out how to read the numbers on the screen in front of them.

I did finally manage to get the second line removed and apparently I’m going to get a retroactive credit for it.  Unfortunately I have to wait until next month to find out if that actually happened as Bell is apparently unable to generate new bills on any day other than your billing date. In the mean time I’m supposed to over pay due to their screw up this month.

As for the offer I was given, I still don’t have that.  I’ve got an “investigation” number though and supposedly I’ll receive a call within 5-7 days to inform me of the results of the “investigation”.  I think I already know the response I’m going to receive. Something like:

The offer that you were provide was not properly documented so we are unable to extend that offer to you.  Instead, we’ll give you a token $5 off of your bill for a couple months to try and keep you happy. Oh, but we’ll still charge you $52.95/month for internet that you can get elsewhere for $34.95/month, just because we think we can. Oh, and for making us look bad we’re going to say that you agreed to a 3 year contract at some point too.

Here’s hoping they don’t end up canceling both phone lines at my house.  That would be just classic Bell Canada.

What’s Next?

Once this is fixed, I’m switching to Primus. Bell Canada still sucks and I don’t want to give them any more of my money.

Cracked!

Well, I guess my time ran out.  My website was cracked at some point in the last couple months. Someone managed to figure out my password (which was a really crappy password) and started adding a whole lot of hidden spam to my posts.  Unfortunately I didn’t notice until Google sent me a message indicating that their search robot found spam on my site.

So this morning I’ve been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and trying to determine what was touched.  I have a few ideas on how the person got access and they are all due to crappy passwords. Now is a good time to remind everyone to create strong passwords.  If you need some help, check out a site like Bad Neighborhood‘s Mnemonic Strong Password Generator. You shouldn’t use your pets, kids, grandkids, or common words for a password.

Oh, and to anyone who had a login/password on ivany.org – sorry, they have all been deleted now.  I’m going to try to roll out a new website in the coming weeks so the timing of this isn’t so bad.  Pretty much everything is changing.

Update: Well, this sucks. At first I didn’t think I had been de-listed from Google but now it seems I have been. Crappy. Here’s hoping they get to my “reconsideration request” sometime soon.

Speeding senior escapes street racing penalties

Speeding senior escapes street racing penalties

Hmm, wonder if I can use this arguments if I get pulled over going more than 50km/h over the speed limit:

“I’m not a stunt driver and never was,” Harding said. “At my age, it’s not something I’m going to start to do.”

Start to do? You already are a “stunt driver” if you got clocked doing 50km/h over in an 80km/h zone. If you’re capable of doing it once, you’ve probably done it before and you’ll probably do it again.

Now, apparently all you have to do to get your speed reduce to 49km/h over the limit is say that you’re on my way to a doctors appointment and that you shouldn’t have to follow the same highway traffic laws as everyone else because you’re old.

Something tells me that this sort of argument from a 30-something wouldn’t fly. Heck, I’ll bet a 60-something would have a hard time getting away with something like this. The “street racing” law doesn’t have an age limit and contrary to what Mr. Harding’s friend Douglas Biggs states, the law is not designed to reduce street racing fatalities among young drivers. It’s designed to get dangerous drivers off of the roads and thus try to reduce fatalities among all of the rest of us on the roads.

It’s not just about young drivers.

Warnings emerge about Bumbo baby seat – ParentDish

One of my co-workers pointed me to this ParentDish article Warnings emerge about Bumbo baby seat – ParentDish this morning. Apparently, there have been a number of cases where parents have put their children in a Bumbo chair on an elevated surface. Let’s stop for a moment here. Why would you put your child on an elevated surface without some form of mechanical restraint? Any child will fall from an elevated surface if they are not physically attached to the surface and given enough time.

Now, the Bumbo chair itself has a warning stamped on it that clearly indicates it should not be used on a raised surface:

Warning text that is printed on the Bumbo chair

Warning text that is printed on the Bumbo chair

Similar text is also printed in multiple languages on a pamphlet that comes inside the box with the chair.

Of course, baring common sense, what’s the first thing you have to do if you fail to heed warnings and your kid takes a bad fall? Well, you have to sue of course. There’s no possibility that the parent could be at fault, the manufacturer and retailers must have sold bad products that are unsafe.

Sheesh, if that was the case, I should go sue a zipper maker because their zippers may pinch my skin if I don’t use them properly. Heck, just imagine the damage that could be caused by failing to use the zipper on your pants properly. A man could be rendered sterile! Sue the zipper company and all the retailers that sell pants! They sell bad, unsafe products!