Utility Swearhouse


I have had to endure that monotonous ritual of switching my gas company on account of my current supplier's avarice. I elected to go to Utility Warehouse- they already provide my electricity and I have had no problems with them. Bizarrely, for 2021, I was unable to switch online, so I phoned their ‘helpline’. The robot voice told me it was a three-minute wait. I waited 30 minutes- to be summarily cut off. I can understand why so many people are given to swearing! I tried again. After a 25-minute wait, I was finally put through to an amiable man, but by that time I was pretty annoyed for having had an hour of my life stolen- just so I can increase their annual profits.

I emailed a complaint. This week, I had my response. G__ from ‘Customer Services’ told me he was “sorry that you have been waiting some time to get your Gas supply”.

But this wasn’t part of my complaint. I emailed G__ back, suggesting he pass my email onto a colleague who was actually prepared to read it. In the meantime, I receive an auto-generated email declaring:

We've resolved your complaint.

I thought I was better qualified to judge that, but G__ duly passed it to B__ who ‘was sorry I was unhappy’ with his colleague’s response, though he “appreciated [me] getting in touch”. Sadly, he did not seem concerned to address my annoyance at having my phone call terminated. Perhaps I would rather be with a company that charged more for its gas, but whose ‘customer services’ actually read complaints before fobbing them off. Perhaps I’d rather be with one that correctly estimates the length of telephone wait times and actually reads emails.

Although I now scorn Utility Warehouse as being just one more money-first, people-second UK company, all of us can be guilty of not listening to each other. We too often dispense advice without actually hearing what people say because our assumptions of what they want are more convenient and readily accessible. Sometimes we skim-read the long email, get distracted during a heart-felt monologue, or just presume we know what people think.

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:33 (ESV)

More importantly still, is to hear God’s voice speaking amid the chaotic clamour of our age:

Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it! Luke 11:28 (ESV).

After dealing with my third 'customer service representative', I got someone higher up the food chain, duly receiving an apology and £25 'compensation'. I declined the money, and told her I was just glad somebody had actually bothered to listen. 

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay