This morning, “06880” posted a story about a customer’s experience with Hocon Gas. President David Gable replies:
I was just sent a copy of your post regarding my company’s billing practices. I realize you have been held in high esteem by many of your fellow Westport residents but as a person representing facts to the general public, I feel you have a responsibility to check your facts before you publish them, and you haven’t, at least in this case.
The person lodging the complaint you posted didn’t let you know the entire story. A call was made to our office late on 7/13/2022 for a reported gas leak. We consider that a very serious issue and strive to respond within half an hour, since one never knows the severity of the leak and if it’s an actual threat to public safety.
In fact the service technician was pulled off another call (not an emergency) and immediately sent to investigate. He pressure tested the system, inspected the appliance in question and found no leak. He then returned (now on overtime) to complete the call he had been servicing.
This call came in at the end of the day. Our service billing person, who was recently hired, billed the service call and an after-hours emergency charge as though this had been a call in the middle of the night, which it wasn’t. The customer in question emailed me complaining of the charge. I looked into it and found she was right and should not have been charged the after-hours charge, which was credited to her account 5 days later.
The net cost of that call with taxes was $268. I don’t consider that unreasonable. I looked at a number of different industry websites, and found Sears, for example, posting a range of service charges for an oven repair of between $230-$320, for a call that’s not even an emergency. I couldn’t find another company with posted prices for service on their website, but I wasn’t going to make it my life’s work either.
Further, the claimant said she wished she had called the fire department because they check out gas leaks for free. (The fire departments then call us to take care of the problem.) Fire departments are compensated by the taxes we pay to the towns in which we reside. We as a company have been billed many thousands of dollars by fire departments for gas leaks, even calls we have responded to in a mutual aid capacity for consumers of propane not serviced by us but another company lacking the expertise, ability or interest in dealing with the problem.
In closing, I would like to remind you that you posted our trademarked logo without permission to do so, and you included my email address in your post. I consider that an unbelievable dereliction of your responsibility. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Editor’s note: Informational (or “editorial”) uses of a trademark do not require permission from its owner. Uses that inform, educate or express opinions are protected under the First Amendment. Illegal use of a trademark would be an attempt to deceive a customer into believing one company was another.