I don’t normally use my blogposts to complain about the world but I have been so shabbily treated and inconvenienced by Yorshire Water’s incompetent handling of what should be a simple procedure that I have been driven to share the story on my blog. A dread to think of the money being wasted by YW and its contractors if this is how they handle a routine domestic incident. These working practices must impact on Kelda’s (the owners of YW) share price and the amount we pay here in Yorkshire for our domestic water supplies. It does not make good reading. A copy of this piece has been sent to Richard Flint YW’s CEO and Mr. Parry Jones, Chairman of Yorskhire Water Services Ltd.
How Long Does it Take a Privatised Water Utility to Fix a Blocked Sewer Pipe?
On the 1st of October problems emerge with a blocked ladies toilet at commercial offices I own and let at 7 Alexandra Road Harrogate HG1 5JS. The office, located in a Victorian semi-detached villa has five separate tenants and the staff count hovers around 15.
After two visits from a plumber problem is determined to be below ground and not in the buildings outlet pipes.
5th – 12 October AAAUKDrainage of York are called who undertake jetting and camera investigation work. These show considerable root penetration. On two subsequent visits they remove offending plants, dig an approx. 1.2 metre trench and install a new drain. This drain goes under a dividing garden wall into a neighbouring property (No 5 Alexandra Road). This connecting drain is suffering similar root problems and needs clearing out otherwise the blockage will re-occur. As soon as it leaves my property it becomes Yorkshire Water’s (YW) responsibility. My contractors provide a clip off joint so that YW personnel can access the drain to clear out my neighbour’s root infestation without digging up my neighbour’s garden.
Monday 12 October I call YW. Now read on:
Wednesday 14 October Job Ref 18540483
Derek from YW (Amey Contractor) arrives and inspects hole and informs me that it requires shoring up before he could go down into it. I ask if he will do the shoring but tells me it is my contractor’s responsibility. I suggest he might like to talk to AAAUK Drainage as they would be happy to share the film footage of the blockage with YW. He declines this offer.
I inform my contractors and they duly come and shore up the hole as instructed.
Friday 16 October
Derek returns to inspect the hole and the shoring and thanks me for arranging a step to be made so he can access the hole easily. He says he will come back the following day (Saturday) to do the job.
Saturday 17 October
Derek phones me at home on my mobile phone to say he’s been on site but his cutters aren’t strong enough and needs more powerful equipment as the roots are tougher than envisaged. I ask if he’d brought with him the wrong equipment but he did not answer this question. Derek assures me that a team will be out on Monday to fix everything.
Monday 19 October
No sign of anyone from YW (AMEY).
Tuesday 20tht October
I phone YW to ask what is going on. Nobody seems to know anything. Eventually I am informed someone will be there in a couple of days or so. I explain that the ladies loo in my office is out of action and causing my tenants great inconvenience and that time is of the essence. The YW operative (male) states someone will definitely be there the next day.
Wednesday 21 October
No sign of anyone. I phone again in the afternoon and ask where is YW (Amey) team promised? I am informed that someone will be arrive on Thursday. I respond to text sent by YW requesting feedback. I reply ‘0 out of 10,’ ‘Dreadful.’
Thursday 22 October
Early afternoon two wagons appear, one large carrying water from Skipton and another smaller from elsewhere. I am informed by Ian Bratt (Job Ref: P9040070 – 5) that he couldn’t possibly go down that hole because it wasn’t shored up correctly. When I inform him that it has been passed by another member of YW (AMEY) he said, ‘he should be fired.’ They go away and Ian Bratt phones me at around 6 o’clock saying that, ‘I think they are going to send out a ‘digging team.’ In the meantime I receive calls from ‘Chantelle’ at Amey apologising saying ‘I agree, it is not good enough’ and other soothing platitudes but still I have no functioning ladies loo.
Friday 23 October
I receive a message on mobile answering service from Julie Darvill (Ref: P904070). She says she is the ‘Case Manager’ for YW and had just heard about this saga. She phones back late on Friday afternoon and says, I hear you are having a problem with a ‘manhole or something’ and clearly has no grip on the issue. When we eventually discuss what needs to be done she states that the hole created by my contractors has to be filled in. When asked if YW would:
- Fill in the hole themselves?
- Pay for AAADrainage to fill in the hole?
The answer on both counts was a definite ‘No’. This is despite me having had to pay an extra £150.00 to put in shoring at YW’s request that I now have to dismantle.
Ms. Darvill’s attitude was unsympathetic as if I was the one at fault. No recognition of the time and frustration I have had to endure because of YW’s gross incompetence, no I am sorry at the inconvenience to you and your tenants who still have no ladies loo.
Her parting shot was to restate that I had to re-fill the hole at my expense and then tell YW when it has been done, and we’ll go from there. Not exactly what I would call cordial customer service.
In my business if I treated my clients like this I would be out of business in a week.