Day 1 Saturday morning pilot light won't light. We tried to light it ourselves but it didn't work. Called Direct Energy since we have heating protection with maintenance plan. Appointment scheduled between 6 and 10 pm. Technician showed up, pushed the button just like we did then said we needed a new valve. He then spent half an hour trying to sell us a new furnace.
Day 2 Sunday an appointment is scheduled between 3 and 7 to replace the pilot light valve. The technician shows up after 6 pm and asks if we have the valve. Huh?! The valve was supposed to be dropped off on our front porch apparently at some point during the day. This was the first we heard of this. The first technician was so busy with his sales pitch, he didn't explain any of this and I don't know if he even put the order in. So second technician doesn't have the valve, doesn't call anyone, and leaves. We did get a phone call that day from Direct Energy sales and service who thought we were ordering a new furnace. Uh.. no...
Day 3 Monday We call Direct Energy first thing in the morning and after repeating ourselves to a number of people they say the valve will be shipped - whenever. Luckily the valve is delivered that day. It is then up to us to call and arrange for the technician to install it. They don't have anyone available until the next day.
Day 4 Tuesday Our appointment is scheduled between 10 am and 2 pm. Technician shows up at 10 minutes to 2. Replaces valve in 15 minutes then another sales pitch to buy a new furnace. When I told him we already had the spiel, he started in about safety and how our carbon monoxide detector will probably let us know when the furnace fails. Do all these technicians get training in selling also?
So after 3 nights of no heat this past weekend when our area has lots of snow, and subzero temperatures, our 3 children all slept toghether for warmth and all of our tropical fish died...Direct Energy managed to spend 15 minutes replacing a valve. Also to note, on our checklist the technician priced the replacement valve at $350 but looking online after writing down the serial number, the price of this valve seems to be around $75. My conclusion is not to pay for the protection plan but to pay for annual maintenance from a local company and any repairs along the way. We have a family run furnace business down the street and I bet you don't have to explain your problem to 100 different people sitting in cubicles who knows where to get something done. These giant corporations are useless and the almightly dollar is always the bottom line. Family run, local business is the way to go!! You are investing in your community not some CEOs bonus.
By the way, ironically, I saw this ad on the Direct Energy webpage when I was looking up the number to cancel my plan...
"Life without a warm, comfortable house is no fun. That's why the Direct Energy team has worked hard to improve our service level so that on average, we are able to respond to our Direct Energy customers that have no heat, hot water or air conditioning 90% of the time the same day! We've been listening to our customers and we know that they value prompt, hassle-free service. And we're not done; we're striving to improve our service response time to an even higher level.
When our heating and cooling protection plan or rental water heater customers call as late as 5 pm with broken equipment and need our help, we promise to do everything we can to be there the very same day. If you want to enjoy that same peace of mind – you need to become a Direct Energy customer today! " What a joke!