A few weeks ago, Upper West Side co-op dweller Paul Zweben had had enough: The former chef still couldn't use the $5,000 Viking stove he bought last fall from P.C. Richards. The appliance had been rendered useless by a cracked gas valve.
"I had made 100 phone calls to P.C. Richards over four months trying to get it fixed, and they gave me the run around," says Zweben, who also happens to be a social-media savvy real estate broker. "Finally I posted it on Twitter and in five minutes, they replied, 'We're on it. We're sending a $50 gift certificate.'"
Zweben (Twitter handle @hungrydomaine) says he would have preferred a new stove over a $50 gift certificate, but P.C. Richards did replace the valve and boosted the warranty on the stove from five to 10 years.
Intrigued at the idea of using Twitter for home-related grievances, we poked around online to see what other NYC businesses were putting the customer back in service.
Time Warner Cable seems to be leading the game with its Twitter responses, though not necessarily in resolving issues.
Recently, @buckyturco tweeted, "Time Warner NYC, why do you hate your high speed customers?"
Within the hour, @TWCableHelp responded with, "What's the issue? Maybe I can help?"
@buckyturco tweeted a jury's-out response to BrickUnderground’s followup: "[Time Warner] contacted me, but it hasn't alleviated the problem yet. But pretty smart customer service-wise.”
Our quick scan of the local Twitterscape shows that Verizon, AT&T and Hertz are also reaching out to NYC customers who cry foul. (Where are you, ConEd, Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel?)
A list of "Top 40 Twittering Brands" compiled by Mashable.com says Comcast, Dell, DirecTV, Best Buy and Home Depot are also at your Twitter service.
It turns out it is not just corporate giants monitoring home-related Twitter pleas.
BrickUnderground did a national shout-out via HARO and heard back from people around the country who said they'd successfully tweeted about everything from a running toilet to the ruination of a coach via leaky roof.
Could we get help this way?
Under a pseudohandle, BrickUnderground tweeted, "My leaky faucet is driving me mad!"
Alas, no one was home.
Tweet your household dilemmas and share the results here.