Reliant Energy: Anything But

frustration.jpgI've been in Texas since Labor Day, but the girl and I are finally moving to a new place, which necessitates doing a whole host of things like signing up with an energy provider. I picked Reliant only because they were listed on the info sheet provided to me by the leasing office at our new complex, and because they're online-only plan offered low rates and no cancellation fees. So I signed up online, and at the end of the process I was greeted with a screen confirming my scheduled start date for service. It also repeated the information I had submitted to them, including my address (click for larger): rightaddy.png I figured I had gotten something done with my day, and considering that we've got quite a bit of planning and prep still ahead of us concerning the new place, it felt good to cross this task off my list. A couple hours later, I received an email confirming my new account and start date, and it asked me to double-check my personal info and contact Reliant if anything was amiss. I scanned it quickly, not thinking there would be a problem, but when I saw what they had listed as my address, I knew something had gone wrong (click for larger): wrongaddy.png They had omitted two digits from my apartment number, placing me at unit 19 instead of unit 3019. I have no idea how this happened, but I knew even before I checked my earlier screen-capture that the error was theirs, not mine. I had entered all my information correctly, they had somehow rendered it inaccurate, and now I would have to call them.

I spent twenty minutes talking to three different departments, having a conversation I could only describe as Kafkaesque. I just wanted them to correct the address — to add two digits to the front of my unit number to make it right — but that wasn't possible. The address they had in their system, for unit 19, had generated a specific code or tag of some kind that couldn't be amended that simply. The only way to fix things, I was told, would be to cancel my service order and re-submit a new one, though I wouldn't be able to get the online-only rate over the phone, so I'd need to hang up and go through their site all over again. One woman even told me (not cruelly, just factually) that because I had submitted an incorrect address, the only way to remedy the situation was to fill out a new order. I firmly told her that I had not, in fact, given them the wrong info, but that they had messed up.

I was also informed that, though it was a Thursday afternoon and I'd requested service to start on Monday, four days later, the service department might not get the cancellation in time. I told them that there is no unit 19 at this complex; it's not like it's somebody's else place, it doesn't exist, period. They said that they would process the cancellation, and in the event that I did get a bill in error with the wrong address, to call them and have them straighten it out. I considered repeating my earlier statement to the woman — specifically, how can I get a bill for electricity at a place that isn't there? — but I simply agreed and eventually hung up. Each of three operators thanked me for my business and welcomed me to the company, but none seemed to have any real understanding of two very basic things: Reliant had messed up, and I was left to fix it.

So I was done. Three hours from start to finish. I got another service provider. I've never had a company so thoroughly botch customer service from the start, and I plan on never using Reliant again.