Thursday, January 13, 2011

SOS - Our Life-Line

~ Black Dahlia – Ceramic Matters ~

 Ceramic Matters is situated in a “world class African city”

Our electricity account, from the City Council, arrived on the 20th December 2010.

R 752,575.19 !! (At current exchange rate ± US $ 110,186.70) We are a small ceramic studio, not the Kennedy Space Centre!!

It looked like an obvious mistake - to us - and it will be rectified without a problem. After all, how does one calculate an estimate to the value of  three quarters of a million rand on an account that has never been more than ± R 5000.00 ?

We were sorely mistaken.

Electricity is a fundamental part for the production of our work. We'll keep a record of the time/money spent to resolve the above . . .

19th December 2010 -
• We receive the account.
• Attempt to log on to the Internet site, but as in the past few months the site is "under construction".

20th December 2010 -
• Phone the number supplied on the “under Construction” website. "Please hold, we are experiencing high/large call volumes . . . your call is important to us . . ." 
• It takes 20 or 30 minutes before someone answers, now I have to explain why I think the account is not correct. Obviously I did not manage very well, because:
• I am told to pay the full amount - “If there is a mistake on the account a credit will be passed and you-will-not-have-to-pay-for-electricity-until-the-credit-has-been-used-up!” . . . She actually seemed SÓ happy for me ! (Based on our average use over the past couple of years, it will take approximately 30 years!! She never said if we would receive interest on the credit!!)

• Finally, I ended the conversation, desperate and frustrated.

Since we are not in a position to pay huge sums of money to our local council and then live of the credit, I decided to brave the"your call is important to us . . ." again, later . . .  

~ this account shows a payment made in November which is
the total of payments we made for several months before ~
• This time I speak to a more logical person.
• We agree on an amount I would pay for the month.
• I receive two reference numbers - one for the enquiry and one for the meter reading
• She asks me to phone back after 14 working days.
• I pay the agreed upon amount . . .

12th January 2011 -

• To date I have not been able to speak to a human being at the call centre again – “we are experiencing large call volumes” . . . and then I just hold on till the line cuts out eventually.
• The automatic accounts voice assures me that our account is still exactly the same as it was on December 20th 2010.
• The Internet Site is still "under construction" - no access to enquire on the progress on our account query.
• The payment I made on December 20th has also not been recorded.
• Phoned our local Councillor and ask for help . . . I have sent her an e-mail with all the relevant information; she has promised to see if she can assist at all.

~ Ceramic Matters ~

will you sort out your accounts department!


henriquewilding said...

What an ordeal, all in the name of Art.!!

Clementina van der Walt said...

I cannot believe this Gerhard! It is like a Monty Python movie that keeps getting stuck on the same frame...what will you do now? How absolutely depressing!

ceramicmatters said...

Hi Henrique and Clementina
Yes, well . . . we were told on Monday that we have been listed to be disconnected; because of the outstanding account. The first interest has also been calculated and added onto the account . . .
It makes me feel so insecure to not know if we’ll have electricity to complete our orders or not!
Regards. G