bsy's adventures with San Diego area companies

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I started this page to share my experiences with local companies. To make it possible for automated analysis, I am trying to keep the entries in a strict format. I hope that others will do the same and that software web ``robots'' will eventually be able to gather such information together. What I relate are true events; I am simply a consumer relating his own experiences.

The recommendation value that I give is on a scale of -10 to 10. If you have suggestions for additional fields, please let me know.


Airport shuttle
+1 619 291 3010
I called several places to price rides to the airport from my home. Normally I would park at an airport parking service, but this was a longer than usual trip. Cell-U-Ride gave me a quote of something like $35 one way, almost matching what Cloud 9 asks for (as a point of comparison, the last time I took Cloud 9, it was around $66 for 2 persons round trip -- the additonal people are cheap though). Furthermore, Cell-U-Ride's were exclusive rides -- i.e., I am supposed to be the only passenger (I wanted to minimize the travel time for my cat; other shuttle services usually pick up up to 3 other passengers and can add significantly to the travel time).

So, I scheduled a 5:45am pickup to catch a 7:30am flight -- I live about 45 minutes from the San Diego International Airport (SAN), and this would give me an hour of time to check in etc. Normally I would not reserve so much time (despite what the airlines recommend), but this time I was going on an extended trip and was taking my cat. Waking up at 5am after staying up late working until 3:45 was difficult, though along with my alarm, I got a phone call at 5am from the Cell-U-Ride dispatcher asking for directions; I had offered to give directions when I first scheduled the shuttle ride, but was reassured that they had the latest maps.

Apparently not.

The dispatcher had some trouble understanding me, though I had no difficulty hearing her. They did not put the driver on the phone. Perhaps he was on his way already.

I am ready to go a little before 5:45am and put my cat into his kennel to await the driver, rather that to wait for the doorbell -- which scares the cat into hiding -- and getting bloodied then.

At 5:50am, I called Cell-U-Ride to see what was going on. Since I live in a new housing development, it was entirely possible that the driver was having trouble finding it if he was relying on old maps and did not get or understand the directions. The dispatcher simply assured me that the driver was on his way.

At around 6am, I called again, insisting that the dispatcher contact the driver by radio and tell me where the driver is at that time. The dispatcher was not able to get into contact with the driver.

At around 6:10, I called yet again. The dispatcher tells me to call back, and when she does not pick up the phone, it will forward to the driver. I repeatedly call several times. No answer from any humans, just an answering machine. I give up and look forlornedly out the window.

At 6:15, I call what appeared to be a nearby cab company to see if I could arrange for alternative transportation. The cab company said they'd be there right away, but I had my doubts about how ``right away'' was ``right away'', and worried about making my flight.

At around 6:30, the driver from Cell-U-Ride finally calls to tell me he is lost and to ask for directions again. I tell him about having called the cab, but he insists on trying to make it here. So I give him the directions once again. I told him whoever makes it here first wins.

The Cell-U-Ride guy shows up. Despite being advertised as ``exclusive'' rides, there were three others in the van. It is 6:45, and I told him that he'd have to speed if I am to make it. On my cellular phone, I call, as we get moving, to cancel the cab, which has not yet made it. After about 5 minutes in the van, I can see that there was no way that I was going to be able to get to the airport on time -- I have to check a bag, plus pay the $50 extra for taking my cat on board, requiring some extra time that I simply did not have. I ask the driver to take me home. I call the airline (US Airways) to see about changing the tickets. They wanted to more than double the cost of the ticket to put me on the same flights the next day; this was messing up the outbound leg, for which they were much less forgiving.

After I get home, I call Cell-U-Ride again to talk to somebody in charge. They claim that the driver has a two-way radio and a pager, and they still had not been able to get in touch with him for an hour. I had earlier noticed what appeared to be a cellular phone sitting on the dashboard of the van. Clearly, I argued, they are responsible for completely messing up my travel plans. The owner apologized and claimed that the driver is new and they are training him. My reaction was that I did not want to be the person upon whom they inflicted such training on, and that this is poor training indeed: why did the driver wait 45 minutes before calling for directions? Why couldn't they get in touch with him from the dispatch station? In any case, I will never deal with Cell-U-Ride again.

Honeywell Protection Services

Home Alarm System Installation and Monitoring
I had my home alarm system installed by Honeywell. This was done as an option through the interior design company that did the interiors for all homes built by the builder for the subdivision in which I live. I pay the interior design company, and they pay the various subcontractors (for carpetting, kitchen appliances, etc). I had fully paid the interior design company's bill long ago.

Honeywell has been sending to my home bills addressed to the interior design company for about a year now. I've contacted them by phone and by mail to inform them that they've made a mistake -- several times -- providing the address of the interior design company so they can correct their data-entry error: they've acknowledged, over the phone, that they should have entered the interior design company's address rather than the homeowner's address into their database, and asked for a copy of the erroneous bill, which I'd duly sent them.

This was several months ago. The bills addressed to the interior design company still keep coming.

I've given up.

While this is a minor bother -- ignoring their mail -- what I find disturbing is that these people are also in the business of monitoring alarm systems as well as design and installation. If they can't get their billing computer's database set up properly -- and one would imagine that accounts receivable to be important to most businesses -- how can anybody trust that they can respond to an alarm properly? After all, they must have another database from which they look up a subscriber's address when an alarm goes off -- what's the likelihood that that entry would also be correct??? If I contract with them for monitoring and the alarm goes off, their security guards would probably be dispatched to the address of the interior design company instead!

addendum: They've stopped sending me the misdirected bill, finally. After about a year and a quarter of this. I hope they actually got their money.

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