After hearing so many horror stories with Direct Energy, I’ll add my own. We are in Scarborough. Our furnace started acting up a few weeks before we were scheduled for maintenance: it would stop when the house was heated but it would not start up again until we turned on the switch manually. At first it was inconvenient because he had to get up a couple of times in the middle of the night (this happened in the middle of winter) but little by little it became scary: the furnace needed many tries until it finally would get started. It was clear that something was very wrong and it could possibly be about to stop altogether.
The maintenance guy and the first technician that came in said there was a sensor that was dirty and just needed cleaning. They both assured us that we would have no more problems after they cleaned it. Not true. As soon as they left the same issue came up. The second technician even said that he was on call that day (Dec 24) and we could call again if necessary. The problem persisted. We called many, many times but nobody picked up. We got another technician on Dec 26. He said that two parts had to be replaced. It was late in the day but he said he’d order the parts and we should receive them the following morning. No parts arrived. When I called at 2:30 p.m. to find out the status of the delivery, they said that they were short staffed and that they had not placed the order yet. The parts arrived in the morning of Dec. 27. We called again to schedule a technician. They said he’d come in between 9 pm and midnight. Nobody showed up. No calls. No apologies.
The technician showed up at 6 p.m. on Dec. 28. He found out that the switch was the wrong part and he ordered another. He said the problem was not with the motor and he wouldn’t replace it. Next morning the new part arrived. The technician came in at 1 p.m. He changed one of the parts (the other was the wrong part again!). The furnace seems to be working fine now.
In the mean time, my husband did a lot of research in the Internet and found some advice in a forum: to blow some hot air into (I don’t know what part of the furnace) with a hair dryer. He did that and it worked much better while we waited for DE to fix the problem. We still need to switch it on manually but only once (not 5, 6 or 7 times every time). We maintained heat in the house all along, but we are on vacations now. What would have happened if instead of being in the house for the holidays we would have been out of town? The pipes would have burst with all the mess and expense it would imply. The maintenance guy should have fixed it at first try. What if we had been working? We would have had to miss several days of work waiting for all the technicians they sent during the week.
We pay for service that’s very, very bad. Some of the call centre people are nice and courteous, but others have zero customer service training or are plain dumb. They don’t know anything about technicians’ schedules and usually put you on hold for as long as 15 minutes while they connect with another department. Some of the technicians complained privately that many times Direct Energy sends private contractors whose only concern is to get in and out of the house as soon as possible. They are paid per visit so they are not going to fix something that takes long to fix. They’ll leave it for the next guy.
As soon as I can leave without penalty I’m off of the plan. Given the amounts that we have been paying monthly over the years, I’m sure I can purchase a new furnace every few years and deal with a local, more responsive gas company in case we run into problems. Direct Energy demonstrated to be extremely unreliable.
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