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Direct Energy - Furnace problems in subzero December 2013 - Not yet fixed after 1 week

Company Direct Energy
Product / Service Furnace
Location Ottawa, Ontario
Category Utility
Views 49
Monetary Loss
Update added by user Jan 18
Direct Energy came afterward my complaint in the morning on Tuesday instead of the scheduled afternoon. They had the furnace fixed.
Original review posted by user Dec 16, 2013

Direct Energy has ignored the urgency of our need for heating, and tried to fix the furnace problem by trial and error. We have no heat from the furnace since Dec 11, 2013.
We have subscribed to their maintenance plan for heating and cooling through Enbridge continuously for years through Enbridge. On Wednesday Dec 11, 2013, we noted that the furnace was not working, and we called Direct Energy service number, they sent a technician and check the furnace. He said there was a problem with the heat exchange, and had ordered parts for it that would arrive the next day. He turned off the gas supply to the furnace and told us he had rushed the parts to be delivered to our home. Once the parts arrived, we had to call Direct Energy and they would send their technicians right away in the same day if we could have the parts in the morning. He left us two small heaters. We put them into use right away. The parts arrived about 7:00 pm on Wednesday.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013, we called Direct Energy and told them that the parts had come and would like to have their technicians come as soon as possible because the forecast for the day was extreme cold and we had an elderly of 88 years old at home. Two technicians showed up about 12:40 pm and they took the furnace apart. They told us that the previous technician missed ordering a certain parts, and they could not do the job until the other parts arrive. They informed us also that they had rushed ordered the missing parts, and told us that we had to called Direct Energy as soon as we had the parts and they would arrange to have technicians come in the same day if the parts arrived in the morning. Because it was so cold, they left us another small heater. We augmented heating with our own heaters, but due to circuit loading, we could only have 1 single heater going on for each floor, and one in the kitchen. Pipes on the basement froze up, and we found that the two technicians cut the in-take and exhaust pipes from the furnace. They were left open directly to the outside. We had to plug them by cloth and then move our heaters around to thaw the frozen pipes. Then other water lines froze as well. We again, plugged in another heater directly from the electric panel to thaw them. Anyhow, room temperature in our room dipped down to 13.3 degrees Celsius. We needed proper heating urgently.

Friday, Dec 13, 2013, the missing parts arrived about 11 am, and we called Direct Energy right away. After the normal queuing for 30 minutes, we got hold of the receptionist, we explained to her we need the furnace repaired urgently. She said she would inform their scheduling department about our situation and tried to have the technicians come out as soon as possible. 15 minutes later, she called and told us they had schedule us for Saturday in the morning. We asked her to consider our situation and gave us priority so that we could limit the suffering of severe coldness. She called back 30 minutes later and told us the good news that they had arranged to have the technicians come out that evening between 7 - 10 pm. We thought she was an angel helping us. Unfortunately, about 6:30 pm. a man identified himself as a staff from the scheduling department called, and said they could not do it and would send the technicians out on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday Dec 14, 2013. Two technicians came by 12:45 pm. They worked for about 2 hours and found that the sub-unit of the furnace had problem, and they need another parts for it. They rushed ordered the parts, and left. We had no heat again.

Sunday Dec 15, 2013, the parts were delivered about 6:30 pm. We called Direct Energy hoping that they could have the technicians come on Monday. We got hold of a representative who told us they would drop our monthly maintenance charge about 1 dollar and extend our coverage to include plumbing. We were connected to the scheduling department, the lady, Morgan,said she would try her best to get us the technicians for Monday. 11 pm at night, I found from my email that they had scheduled the technicians for Tuesday afternoon on December 17, 2013.

Direct Energy is insensitive to customer needs.

  Comments (7) Hide comments
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Jan 13 
A friend of mine has had trouble with an outside gas smell since January 2nd. After several calls she is still waiting from direct energy to have some one coming out. A technician from the gas supplier Enbridge said he was submitting 2 work orders. He did a temporary repair but said the gas would be cut off within 35 days if is not fixed. She cannot get anyone to help her. She has called 3 times to Direct Energy. Talk about poor customer service. IS IT DANGEROUS FOR HER TO STAY IN HER HOUSE!!!
Reply to Annoyed

Feb 03  from Toronto, Ontario
Sounds like she does not want to pay for someone to do the repairs. Generally the policy is with the furnace, not other components, such as pipes and venting. And those other components can cost a lot.
Unfortunately, if you are red ticketed, DE probably cannot do anything until the problem is fixed, or DE could be sued.
NO one likes to spend money, but likely what is happening is she is refusing to believe it is not covered, so it is in limbo.
Reply to Anonymous

Jan 12  from Kingston, Ontario
We are currently having the same problem. Furnace has been out for 6 days. We keep having to phone to get updates and they don't really care that you are without heat. Part is supposed to be high priority but unable to get it. We have had no show appointments and total lack of communication and customer service. It is still under warranty otherwise a local vendor would have had it fixed by now. Wouldn't get anything from this company again. Too big to care about the little people!
Reply to Frustrated

Feb 03  from Toronto, Ontario
As a DE call centre person, we care. But sometimes it does not matter, especially if the part is out of stock or in another country. Time and distance work against you.
I wish I had a magic wand in these cases...
Reply to Anonymous

Dec 17, 2013  from Ottawa, Ontario
Direct Energy sent out a crew of two technicians on Dec 17, 2013 morning. They fixed the problem. Heat returned by noon. The ordeal lasted 7 full cold days.

Reply to KBFung

Dec 21, 2013  from Chicago, Illinois
When the agent goes over everything, they tell you that they aren't responsible for anything that happens to the lines or the actual unit. Call a repair man or your actual utility company. direct energy is simply just a supplier.
Reply to Anonymous

Dec 16, 2013  from Columbia, Kentucky
Time for a new furnace. And, stop paying for a "maintence" program that apparently is not worth it. Luckily, by living in Canada with all that free health care, you have enough money to buy a new furnace.
Reply to nikalseyn

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