Wednesday, September 28, 2011

While everything might seem legit...

H and I were busy today, minding our business and tackling house projects, planning a nice lunch out, when bang, bang, bang - this horrible noise shook the pipes in the basement.

I was downstairs hanging laundry and yelled up at him to go see what was causing that banging outside. It was a random guy. This random guy told H he was surveying the gas lines.

H came in to call the gas company.

I marched outside and told the guy he cannot be on my property without first knocking on the door and introducing himself and telling he plans to bang the shit out of my gas meter.

He informed me if he had to knock on everyone's door he wouldn't get anything done.

I told him he had no right to be assaulting my property with my permission and he needed to move it along.

At no point in time did he offer to show either H or I his ID or his work orders. His truck is basically a beater with stick on signs.

No PUCO permit numbers, no phone number... not helpful in the verification process at all.

H held with Columbia I am a Pain in the Ass, oops I mean Gas Company for a bit but when he found out it was going to be a 30 minute wait and the guy had left, he hung up. I posted the above photo to the Homeowner's Association Facebook page and tried to google his company. I contacted a company from Fairfield, Ohio who while they have the same name ARE a different company, as they sent a guy out to check on us. He also saw this truck in the neighborhood and assured me my random guy was not with them. This is a good company folks - they were genuinely worried one of their employees had gone rogue... They get an A+ in customer service from me, and let's face it, I seldom hand those out.

This made me feel worse NOT better.

I tried again to find a number for the "Premier Utility Services", who visited my house today. No luck. I nosed around the BBB, PUCO and Columbia Gas's website. Nothing. No mention of a project in this area, nothing.

As I left the development to run errands, I spot the truck and I stop and take more photos. (I love my iPhone. It's camera is powerful.)

Then at my mom's, I try yet again to locate a phone number for this company. Nada.

I then called the police and file a report. What other resources did I have. He was behaving in a suspicious manner. He offered no ID, no work orders and no project specs and fled when I ordered him off my property. You hear about these scams all the time. People posing as utility workers, who aren't. The PUCO did a public service campaign urging people to only allow people with IDs into their homes and onto their properties.

Just tonight a Facebook friend posted that her neighbor's A/C unit was ripped off their house, leaving all sorts of exposed and live wires. Who is to say this guy was not casing my gas meter, with designs on stealing it for its metal content.

It really would have been so much easier had this guy been polite, knocked on our door, warned us he was going to be making some noise as he surveyed the gas lines. (Maybe he could have explained why and how one surveys gas lines. Please if you know, the comments are open.)

I am not holding my breath, that I will ever really know if this guy was legit or not. I have alerted the authorities. I am sharing my story in order to alert other people near and dear to me, I have photos. Should the PUCO, Columbia Gas, or the police contact me, I will gladly share my photos.

If my gas meter malfunctions, I have proof that it was not H or I who messed with it, I can prove that I attempted to verify with the proper people, who was messing with my meter. Columbia, I am a Pain in the Ass, I mean Gas Company cannot pin this on us.

It just isn't good business to enter someone's property and then do stuff with their gas meter - without telling them first. On so many levels this guy was raising suspicions and making it appear that he was not legit. So it is one of two things - he is legit but very poorly trained, employed by a company with zero interest in customer care OR he is not legit and I hope he gets caught, before he hurts himself or someone else.

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