The Jasper Saga...
Sounds like a decent name for a fiction series, doesn’t it? Daring hero, epic fantasy (I’m slightly biased; in case you can’t tell yet, I love fantasy.), a tale fraught with tension.
Well, it’s a tale fraught with tension, certainly, but it is unfortunately no fantasy. Yet. I like the title so much that maybe one day, when I’m over my pique, I shall endeavor to turn a bad experience into a good (and entirely unrelated) novel. Series. Yeah…
Let’s rewind a little, to a day in mid-July; the thirteenth, to be precise. Our house was approached by a representative from Jasper Contractors (a.k.a. JasperRoof.com), and although this particular salesman (Let us call him Man #1) was pleasant to talk to and did not beat me over the head with his sales pitch, the Rest of the Story has done nothing to alleviate my general prejudice against door-to-door solicitors. However, it was a pleasant evening, and after Man #1 climbed up on my roof and took photos of the state it was in, we sat out on the stoop and chatted for a bit. We talked about roofing, if you can believe it. I read over the initial contract, which stated that both parties (me and Jasper) agreed that if the insurance company wouldn’t pay for a full roof replacement, the job would not be done, and that we (the owners) were responsible for paying the insurance deductible. All we (the owners) would have to do is leave Jasper’s BRIGHT RED sign in our yard until the roof was finished. I am not real fond of signs in the yard, nor is my husband, but I figured that for the price of the deductible, we could grin and bear the atrocity.
Man #1 and I placed a call to the insurance company to get the ball rolling. Right off the bat, the insurance company threw a wrench in the works with computer difficulties, but they’d call us back in a day or two to set up the claim and arrange a date for the insurance adjuster to inspect the roof.
Three days later, not having heard from them, I called them back. It was as though the previous conversation had never taken place. Even so, they leaped into the gap and quickly got things back on course again. A few days later they had a fellow out – and Jasper Contractors sent their fellow out, too. Not the original, but Man #2. What the two of them talked about, I have no idea. Roofing, maybe? The man from the insurance came into the house to discuss the situation with me, and Man #2 rode off into the blistering heat of a mid-summer afternoon. The insurance man was quite nice, and quite helpful and, – most importantly – agreed to give us a new roof. The whole roof. (We have ancient, organic shingles, in case the suspense is killing you, and the stuff recently suffered some storm damage.)
Yippee! A new roof! We needed one. Really. Been talking about it for a couple of years and fearing we’d have to do it ourselves and what a headache that was going to be!
Jasper Contractors got the information they needed, Man #1 set up a date for us: August 23rd. It was kind of a long way off, and there was that hideous sign in our yard that people kept asking about, but hey – the price was right.
On the evening of August 22nd it occurred to me (late, I know, but I was not thinking about the roof 24/7 throughout the entire month) that the roofers had not called to confirm or anything. When they did not show up the next morning, I called them. (Do you see a pattern forming here, or is that just me?) The woman that took my call could not find me in the system. At all. She didn’t say so, but I could guess from the sort of panicky tone of voice. She said she’d look into it and have someone call me.
Someone called me. Brent. Now, I could be wrong, but I suspect he was actually Man #2. The name sounded familiar. He was given the opportunity of talking to me because no one could get hold of Man #1. He had no idea what was going on, but he was on the way to a site near ours where people were getting a new roof. He would investigate. It was another hour or so before he called me back and informed me that we had been taken off the schedule because (are you ready for this?) our roof is too small.
Was he serious? Yes, indeedy. Did I give him an earful? Yes, indeedy. He referred me to the office. I stomped outside, ripped the hideous sign out of our yard, stuffed it in the garbage container, stomped back inside and stood in the hallway, fuming. Steam was coming out of my ears. My teeth were grinding.
For two or three seconds I debated throwing things. Then I stomped over to the telephone and made the call to the office. The female that answered was only slightly scorched before she put me on hold. I listened to a recording that informed me that I had come to the right place for help with my roof, and I could count on Jasper Contractor’s reliability and customer service.
I beg to differ. Vehemently.
Someone picked up the phone to talk to me. He declined to give me his name. Was it self-defense or guilt?
“What do you MEAN, my roof is too small?” I snarled.
Some stuttering ensued, then he pulled himself together to point the finger (so loudly that I could hear it over the phone) at the contractors to whom they give their business. I thought they were the contractors… And maybe I’m wrong about this, too, but isn’t there “residential roofing” and “commercial roofing”? Is there actually a required size placed upon residences?
“So,” I asked, umbrage heavy in my voice, “Man #1 didn’t know this? And how about Man #2 that came out when the insurance inspector was here inspecting? I have this contract right here…”
“Oh, the insurance inspector wouldn’t know anything about that.” Office Man was quick to respond.
“That is completely beside the point. Your representatives should have known this, but at no point did either one of them bring this up with me. This is completely unacceptable.” Not to mention really bad business.
“We’re sorry, ma’am.”
“That does not get me a new roof. Why didn’t anyone call me when I was removed from the schedule?”
He didn’t know, of course. No one knew anything. We squabbled for a few more temperature-rising moments – or I should say that *I* argued, because all he said was “I’m sorry, ma’am, it’s out of our hands,” twenty times.
Later, who should phone me but Man #1. It was probably safer for him that he phoned and didn’t stop by the house. He was quite apologetic and volunteered to find a company that would do the job.
Sorry, Man #1, but I’m having a really tough time trusting you right now.
“What can I do to make this right?” he asked.
“Well, we’ve been doing a month-and-a-half’s advertising for you. That’ll cost you $500.”
There was a long silence.
“My husband is in advertising,” I offered helpfully.
His response was immediate. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Yeah, you do that.
Miraculously, the shingles were delivered the following morning. No one phoned me, no one came to the door, no one had me sign any papers that said I’d received them. That evening, Man #1 came to my door. He apologized all over again, and sincerely wanted to help out. “They (the ubiquitous, corporate ‘they’) decided not to do roofs under a certain size any more. I thought they meant ‘from this point forward,’ and not ‘period, including people you’ve already signed.'”
I would have thought the same thing. It’s only logical.
Then he saw the shingles sitting there on their tidy little palette. I almost wish I’d had a camera to capture the complete bafflement on his face. “I’ll call and see what’s going on,” he said.
“No, let’s wait and see what the Office does.” I had my suspicions that there was still no communication going on Over There, and it turns out that I was right. In the meantime, I wrestled with the temptation to move the roofing supplies somewhere else and deny that I’d ever seen them, but that would be lying and sigh, sigh, sigh…
When no roofers called or appeared on the following day, my husband decided to call and see when they were coming out. Very shortly after that, Man #1 called me. In a tired voice he informed me that The Office had called him, demanding to know why the supplies had been delivered to our house. How was he to know? How was anyone? At any rate, they were going to come pick them up. And they did. Quite quickly. Not like anything else they’ve done.
For a few days after that I debated looking up a lawyer and suing Jasper Contractors for breach of… contract. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a case. But… I really don’t want to deal with such dishonest, uncooperative, misleading, unreliable, anti-customer service related people. The insurance company is still paying for us to have a new roof. Anyone interested in the job?
On a side note, I really need to invest in an attractive sign to put near or on the front door that announces in no uncertain terms that we do not entertain salesmen. Or women. Or children.
Shoo, shoo. Go away.