Council Contractors


Rules For A Contractor


T-Bone Group

Or, How To Be Browned Off

2012-11-19
Letter received from T-Bone for annual gas safety check, informing tenant an appointment has been made for 2012-12-03, and to call to rearrange if inconvenient.
2012-11-20
Tenant calls T-Bone to make appointment for 2013-01-22; verbal confirmation received.
2012-12-04
Letter received from T-Bone informing tenant that an engineer arrived for the appointment yesterday (2012-12-03) and no one was home, so another appointment has been made for 2012-12-18; letter also has completely OTT warnings about CO fumes “odourless!”, “invisible!” “can be fatal!” (tenant grew up in a time when playing with this was considered normal (amaze your friends by pouring an invisible heavier-than-air gas down a chute to put out a candle!), along with disassembling carbon-zinc batteries and growing miniature forests of chemical crystals), and mentions that failure to keep the next appointment will lead to the landlord being informed “for further action”.
2012-12-05
Tenant calls T-Bone to confirm date of 2013-01-22 is on their calendar (it is), and queries why, if they knew of it, an engineer was sent for the appointment two days earlier which should have been cancelled. Tenant is informed that booked appointments cannot be cancelled once in the system. Tenant then informs T-Bone they need a better diary program as all those she has used (and might code) allows things to be moved or deleted.
2012-12-27
Letter received from landlord informing them their contractor T-Bone has not been able to enter the premises for the legally-required safety check. An appointment has been made for 2013-01-08 which, if not kept, may include paying costs and a fine that could exceed £500.
2012-12-28
Tenant calls T-Bone to again confirm that the appointment for 2013-01-22 is still on their system; it is. No further time is wasted asking why they have sent out yet another engineer.
Tenant calls the landlord to inform them of the appointment on 2013-01-22, when it was made, that it has been confirmed (twice, the second time a mere minute ago), and all the pointless letters that have been sent by T-Bone. Landlord sighs in exasperation as this is now so common it’s beyond a joke, and whilst tenant is kept on hold on an open line so they hear what is being said, calls T-Bone on another phone and tells them to delete the newly-arranged appointment for 2013-01-08 as there is already one for the 22’nd, and can they confirm it’s still on their system. T-Bone do as they’re told and the unwanted appointment is magically deleted. Tenant thanks landlord, who assures them there will be no legal proceedings &c.
2013-01-22
T-Bone engineer arrives and spends less than 15 minutes doing his tests, all the while moaning about being sent out on wasted journeys to people who aren’t in. Tenant enjoys the Schadenfreude.

Another year, another circus

2013-10-19
Letter received from T-Bone for annual gas safety check, informing tenant an appointment has been made for 2013-10-29, and to call to rearrange if inconvenient.
2012-10-23
Tenant calls T-Bone to make an appointment for 2013-11-26 and asks that the booked appointment for 2013-10-29 is cancelled, which is confirmed.
2013-10-29
The biggest non-surprise of the year awaits the tenant as a card has been left by a T-Bone engineer, who called whilst the tenant was out at work. Tenant wonders how any company that is obviously incapable of using a calendar/schedule program can be trusted with something as a relatively complicated as checking gas equipment.
2013-10-30
Tenant calls T-Bone to confirm the appointment for 2013-11-26 is still booked; it is. Yesterday’s visit was due to the fact that booked appointments “can’t be cancelled” on their system (can anything really be that pathetic?), and rather than waste any more time the landlord was contacted directly: they were fully aware of the appointment booked for 2013-11-26 and said they would add a note to hopefully prevent any more stupidity from T-Bone.
2013-11-01
T-Bone informs the tenant with another letter that their engineer was unable to keep the appointment for 2013-10-29 (what do they want, sympathy?), and again warns her about the perils of carbon monoxide “which can be fatal” (ooh, scary! See how worried she is). Another appointment has been arranged for 2013-11-13 and if she is not in then the matter will be referred back to the landlord.
Tenant phones both T-Bone and the landlord to confirm the already-made appointment for 2013-11-26 is still on their system (it is), and now each blames the other for the continuing harassment: T-Bone says they are merely following the landlord’s legal requirements, and the landlord says T-Bone are just being silly. Tenant doesn’t give a damn.
2013-11-13
Call the Pope, it’s a certified miracle! No card, no letter, no irate engineer demanding where the tenant was all day (at work, actually). Have they finally managed to get their act together? (Do you really have to ask?)
2013-11-26
Tenant calls T-Bone at 16:00 as there is only an hour left for them to arrive, when she is informed that according to their diary they are not due to call that day but 3 days later on 2013-11-29. Tenant wonders how a company who is so consistently cretinously incompetent manages to switch on their own lights in the morning, and how it is that now, as if by magic, appointments not only move of their own accord but are even able to do so given all the earlier protestations of their immutability. Apparently they can come on the Saturday morning 08:00 - 13:00 if required, so the tenant agrees on the understanding they will only arrive after 10:00, as Saturday mornings are usually allocated for local shopping, and awaits wonders.
2013-11-28
Tenant receives a letter from the landlord confirming the appointment for 2013-11-29 and suggesting if it is inconvenient to call T-Bone and re-book a suitable time. There is of course absolutely no indication of the actual appointment for 2013-11-30 so it’s clear no one has a clue what’s going on (big surprises all round); there is also a repeat of the threat/warning about gaining access to the home (i.e., smashing down the front door or paying a smith to picks the locks) and charging accrued costs exceeding £500.
2013-11-29
Tenant calls the landlord to inform them of this year’s pathetic saga and spends over 15 minutes regaling someone with the title of ‘Technical Administrator, Assets And Regeneration’, which sounds more suited to someone dealing with property development or maintenance. It’s probable the phrases ‘customer-focused’, ‘goal-orientated’ (though they’d likely mis-spell the word as ‘oriented’ because it’s American and if it’s a merkin it must be better), and other trite clichés also appear in their lexicon, along with some random ISO-Useless reference, but only someone befuddled by numbers would think anything of it.
The tenant is informed that these events are not at all unusual and have happened to other tenants, and that ‘they’ are looking into the matter. When the TA, A&R is told of last year’s events, and questions how many people, committees, sub-committees, and fact-gathering box-ticking form-filling assignments have to be gone through and why, after an entire year and more nothing has actually been done, and why no one can be bothered to use an off-the-shelf diary program (or even an old-fashioned day-per-page paper diary with a pencil and rubber), all the TA, A&R does is repeat and rinse the same meaningless platitudes about the situation being looked into blah blah blah blah blah. It is certainly true that T-Bone and the landlord deserve one another’s ineptitude, but given this tenant’s relative patience and knowledge, how would a slightly less secure pensioner deal with the situation when threatened with legal action and fines &c?
2013-11-30
T-Bone engineer arrives at 11:00 and then checks his diary to learn the tenant had said they would only be available up until 13:00, so it’s simply coincidence he has arrived within the 10:00 - 13:00 window, after which the intercom would have been switched off and the tenant wouldn’t have known anyone was calling. His schedule goes all the way up to 20:00, listing well over a dozen appointments in various parts of the borough, with each visit being allowed half an hour including travelling time, so it’s more than clear that not only do T-Bone expect their engineers to not fix any faults they may find (thus subjecting their customers to going round in ever-decreasing circles trying to arrange a further appointment for any actual work to be done), but also the customer is expected to be fully available for an entire 12-hour period, thus unable to go out shopping, cook a meal, or go to the loo.

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