Friday, June 8, 2012

Crap shacks and chargebacks

It's been one hell of a week!

It all started with this:


Yeah, that's a crack (plus another forming) in my bedroom ceiling. Right over my pillow. We first spotted it Sunday night while lying in bed, and I managed to convince myself that the line on the ceiling directly over my head was just a spiderweb. The photo above was taken Monday evening, after the second weak point appeared. No sign of any moisture, so we contemplated what could cause such a thing..

Thinking that our king size waterbed's 1,500+ pounds of awesome (seriously, that bed is the best thing ever) were starting to cause structural damage to the house, Tanker kindly drained it Tuesday evening after we stopped off at a bunch of furniture stores to do groundwork comparison shopping for new bedroom furnishings. I also requested quotes from a couple of different roofers, just in case we were wrong.

End of an era. Tanker and I have used this bed the whole 10.5 years we've been together!

We got home late, so I missed my first run in flippin' ages, and only got in a 32min swim. We moved sleeping operations to the guest bedroom, thanking our lucky stars that the futon in there is pretty comfortable and a reasonable size for two adults.

Wednesday evening, after a day spent pondering force application angles and the fact that we'd patched a bare spot in the roof almost directly above the location of the cracks, we stopped off at Sears on the way home and purchased our new bedroom set, mattress and foundation. To be honest, the waterbed was in rather poorly condition anyway; it had seen some...ahem...hard usage in the last 10 years that had made the wood frame crack and spit out a number of screws, and our repairs with L-brackets hadn't held as well as we'd hoped. There's also the minor issue of 39-or-so patches in the bladder.

3 cats + 1 waterbed = eventual fail.
I will not miss waking up in a puddle.

Upon arriving at home after spending just under $2,000 on our new bedroom set during a truly monstrous storm of hail, rain, thunder and lightning, we find this:


Along with a big wet spot on the waterbed frame. It's an awfully good thing that Tanker had stripped and drained it on Tuesday, else my precious down pillow would have been soaked along with our bedding. Now, this will sound stupid, by I was actually overjoyed - instead of having to spend $10k+ to try to rebuild the back of the house (which would have been the case if the waterbed had truly done enough damage to the floor and joists to cause the crack), we just needed to re-do the roof and ceiling drywall. The quote from the company we hired today should bring the total in well under $5k.

Thank you, armageddon-y rainstorm!

So now we have a new bedroom set arriving on the 16th, and a little more than a week to break down the waterbed and get the roofing and drywalling done before the new furniture goes in...not to mention the incredible luck that this didn't happen while we were actually in bed. We've got some plastic down in the bedframe to protect the bedroom floor in the meantime, and intend to climb up there tonight to tarp off the damaged section.

Because this is what it looked like by Thursday night, and more rain is coming.

As if all of this wasn't enough, I discovered on Thursday that an order I'd placed with Craft had resulted in an additional charge (over the invoiced amount) on my Visa card. Having called the company, they explained that it was Ontario sales tax, and refused to believe that said tax is applied to the goods by the Canadian Border Services Agency when the package clears customs. I went through both customer service and their accounting department with no luck, then called the card's issuing bank to dispute the charge. I was told that, since I had given my card info and agreed to the website's terms of service, I had (in their eyes) authorized the additional charge, despite not being notified about it prior to it appearing on my card and no mention of additional tax during the checkout process (I took screenshots). As it was relatively small ($15.64CAN), they said they couldn't even open a dispute for such a small sum, but would refund it to me as a loss...if I let them cancel and replace my card. This being my daily-use card (I earn cash back on all purchases, so use it for everything and just pay off the charges on an ongoing basis), I wasn't willing to take that step just yet, but I was told I could call back if I wanted to pursue that option.

Random shot of our new bedroom set, though we're not getting the chest of drawers.

I launched a social media campaign by posting a copy of the invoice and details of how I felt I'd been wronged, then posted that to their Facebook page. Within a 24 hours I had their Global Manager of Web & Digital Communications messaging me to resolve the issue. Less than 3 hours later, I had received a refund of the sales tax charge plus a rather lucrative non-cash token of apology. Furthermore, because I took a great deal of time to provide references detailing Excise Tax law, they are going to implement a fix ASAP so Canadian customers aren't double-charged sales tax in future. I absolutely love the power of social media when it comes to addressing customer service issues - I'm now 4 for 4 on getting effusive responses from companies with whom I've had difficulties, because nobody really believes that there's no such thing as bad publicity.

So, this week has thoroughly sucked. I missed a run, cut two swims short, and have had more stress and less sleep than any time in recent memory. Things are, however, improving: the roofers think they can get everything done next week; we only have another 8 nights (9 at the most) of sleeping on a futon; and not only did I get satisfaction from Craft, I might have actually won a tiny victory for all my fellow Canucks.

The best part of all is that I'll get to spend the whole day Sunday with my sweetheart and over 1,000 other cyclists riding in the Cambridge Tour de Grand! The weather is supposed to be hot and dry, and we'll be taking our leisurely way through the re-designed 160km route; the first true century ride that either Tanker or myself has done.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go tarp the roof of my crap shack!

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