The tenant who had lived in the studio apartment downstairs for over a year, gave her notice to move on December 1. She was ready for a walk-through on December 31.
In the bathroom, I could tell before I opened it that she hadn’t cleaned the glass door to the shower stall. When I opened the door, stunned to see black stuff, I pointed to the shower pan and asked, “What is that?” She said she didn’t know.
On January 11, after all maintenance was completed except having the apartment shower stall cleaned, the man who rented it the same day was not put off. He said he’d clean the shower. We signed papers, and he went back to New Mexico to get his belongings.
On Friday, January 17, the new tenant reported “back up” in the shower stall. It was 3 p.m. I asked him to come upstairs with his phone and help me make the calls. After seven calls, The Rooter Guy said he’d be here in about ten minutes.
When he arrived, he asked if I had Service Line Warranties and told me to call Home Serve, the company that bought that business. I had not made a claim in the six years I had them.
The representative who answered noted that my mailing address had changed from a post office box to “unit 3” on the street address of this property.
“The tenants wanted separate mailboxes.”
She asked how many apartments there were. I told her it was an old house, remodeled before I bought it in 1981. He split the downstairs into two apartments and created another one in the attic. I live in the attic.
She asked if they had separate water bills.
“This is an old house. It has one water line and one sewage line.”
“Then you’ll have to buy two more water line and two more sewer line warranties.”
A retired professor, I pointed out that:
- “Your agreement is for the sewage line outside the house that goes to the connection to the city’s sewage line.
- There is only one sewage line for this house.
- What difference does it make that this house has three apartments?”
“Do they have separate electricity?”
“Yes. What difference does that make? I do not have an agreement with you for fixing electrical issues. My agreement is for the sewage line that begins outside the house and connects with the city line.”
This dialogue continued, and I was put on hold intermittently so that the different representatives could consult their supervisors.
I asked to speak with the supervisor, and the same illogical dialogue continued.
When The Rooter Guy came up to get his check, I related their demand. He said, “You should buy the extra two policies. The cost to repair a sewer line is $10,000 here. What’s it cost to add two more policies to your home?”
“Four hundred and fifty dollars.”
“That’s better than ten thousand dollars, right?”
His service, clearing the sewer line, cost me $190. He said my policy covered that. But when I phoned to make a claim, I ran into an illogical argument that my apartment was covered but not the other two—in the same house! And it was echoed up the line to the customer service team that doesn’t speak to customers. They talk only to the representative who answers the phone.
At some point in that discussion, I mentioned contacting a lawyer. I was so angry I was ready not only to sue them but to launch a viral campaign against the company.
They called me back Friday night. I didn’t pick up the call, and they left no message on my answering machine.
Saturday morning, when the phone rang, I saw that it was yet another person from that company. I could feel my body tensing, my breathing becoming more shallow and frequent.
But I agreed to listen to whatever she had to say, hoping the Customer Service Team had come to their senses.
She said, “This call is being recorded. I’m calling on behalf of the Customer Service Team to help you add four more agreements to your house.”
When she finished talking, I told her I had already heard this same speech several times from different people when her company kept me on the phone for hours yesterday, trying to figure out what to do.
“What you’re saying does not make sense according to my agreement.” And I read the paragraphs about the limits of their service and eligibility for the recording. “When your Customer Service Team reads this agreement, I’ll speak with them. Thanks for calling.” And I hung up.
I spent the rest of the day doing things I wanted to do. I had the chain for my magenta sugilite pendant fixed, donated boxes of stuff to the thrift store, reviewed the astrologer’s relocation report, and I learned more about possible locations for my next adventure. I refused to think about the illogical perspective of that company.
But my mind plotted meetings with the City that introduced me to the company with a flyer in my monthly bill. I imagined meetings with attorneys, realtors, and an internet specialist to expose that company for their unethical behavior!
When I awoke at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, the battle inside me had finally weakened. Lying there in the dark, I could see the situation from The Rooter Guy’s perspective: do what’s in your best interest! I recalled that the City and people in this old part of town had been replacing water and sewage lines.
My conscious mind screamed, “Just do it and let it go!”
But on Monday morning, it was too late. Buying more policies was no longer an option. They canceled my policies, saying, “We don’t do that area anymore.”
As I put the phone down, I heard the old mantra loud and clear in my mind: “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?”
Till next time,
“Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows.” ~Tzaddi