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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Visit to the CERA hub at Avondale

The first thing you need to do before visiting is ring up to make an appointment. We shot over last week as soon as an EQC issue arose only to find no one from EQC could see us - they were all busy. An appointment was sorted and I made a visit to the Avondale hub this morning as part of the saga of trying to sort out the EQC issues.

It was an interesting experience. The space provided is not big and there are a lot of staff and desks in a small space. Having dutifully arrived at least 5 minutes early there was time to fill in a form with claim numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and other statistical information.

At the appointed time one of the EQC people came up, introduced himself to me, and we went and sat at his desk. If you are a private person you may want to ring ahead to arrange something different, as the cramped conditions mean there there is a certain intimacy and mingling of conversations.

One by one we went through the issues and, for the first time, it felt like progress was being made. Only one issue was sorted, a repairs refund that had become stuck in an EQC backwater, but the others raised were explained satisfactorily. What made the difference was Paul, the real person at the desk.

Some things are not going to go anywhere fast, however he was able to explain why they hadn't happened, how the issues were inter-linked, and how external factors were affecting progress. We didn't talk about the hard things such as our perception that the EQC scope of works was grossly inadequate, but then it wasn't something he could fix so why waste his and my breath on it? At the end of the appointment it felt like time well spent - some of what I wanted remained unknown, but there was a satisfactory and sincere explanation.

Congratulations to those who pushed for a CERA hub and to CERA for making it work. There is nothing like dealing face to face with a human being for making progress. I recommend it, and we may try it out with our insurance company in a couple of weeks.

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