Apria Healthcare Complaint - Abysmal Customer Service
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- I am going to detail here some of the unfortunate dealings I have had with Apria. The long and short of it, however, is this: there is a terrible disconnect between the customer service representatives who take orders, the dispatch offices, and the drivers. Moreover, the Brooklyn dispatcher in particular is obnoxious and unhelpful.
My baby was born with respiratory distress syndrome and was discharged from the hospital on oxygen. Because of foul-ups from Apria, her discharge had to be postponed by five days. Here are the series of the events that led to that postponement:
The deliveryman from Apria called one morning to announce that he would be arriving at my house “soon.” My wife and I waited for hours, even though we were supposed to be at the hospital with our baby. Finally, at around 4 pm, he arrived, but with the wrong materials. He had a tank for an adult and a regulator for an adult. We explained that these were the wrong materials. He left with them, and we left for the hospital. At 6:30 pm, another man named Dave called to say that the deliveryman was outside our door in Brooklyn. We were at the hospital and no one had called to tell us someone would be coming back that day. We informed Dave that we could not be there in time to take the materials (the hospital is more than one hour away from our home). He promised that someone would arrive on Monday morning with the proper materials.
Monday morning arrived, and no one showed up. I called the Brooklyn dispatch office and spoke to a brusque "gentleman" who I believe is the manager of that office. I asked him where the driver was; he informed me that the driver would arrive "anytime" that day. I told him that I had been told by Dave on Friday that the driver would arrive in the morning. He informed me that I was mistaken: supposedly no one is ever told what time deliveries will come.
Later that afternoon, the materials arrived (again, forcing my wife and me to lose an entire day with our daughter in the hospital). Again, the delivery materials were for an adult: "M" tanks with regulators that deliver no less than 2 liters of oxygen. As every prescription from the hospital and every bill from Apria makes clear, my baby is supposed to be receiving no more than .2 liters of oxygen. The adult delivery system does not work for her.
I called Apria to complain and was promised that the proper materials would be delivered – the next day. The next morning, a respiratory therapist arrived, again without warning (luckily we were at home), with only a pulse-oxymeter. She had no new oxygen tanks or other equipment. She explained to us how the pulse-oxymeter worked, but without any of the proper materials, my wife and I had no idea what was to be done. She called the Brooklyn dispatcher to inquire about what was happening and put him onto the phone to me. I complained about the conduct of Apria, and he began shouting at me to quiet down. At that point I hung up on him.
Eventually we received the proper equipment, with the help of the Elmsford branch manager. I thought that we had finally figured out how to deal with Apria.
This past weekend, I again had to order additional oxygen tanks plus a stand for the E tanks. I called Apria's emergency number. I was told I should have called on Friday, not Sunday. I said fine, but placed the order: 3 E tanks and 6 M tanks and one stand. On Monday morning, someone called to say that they could not deliver the tanks before Tuesday. I insisted that they deliver the tanks on Monday. They agreed to do so. So on Monday afternoon, a driver showed up at my house. He had three D tanks, 3 M tanks, and no stand. I asked him to leave all of the tanks and to take the empties. He would not take the empty E tanks because he was not delivering any full E tanks. I then called the Westchester office to place my order (3 E tanks plus a stand plus 3 M tanks) again. The woman who took the order was very helpful. This afternoon, a driver showed up at my apartment with an M tank and a stand. My wife (I wasn’t home) protested that this was not the proper order but the driver insisted on leaving it. She pointed out that the M tank is for adults and that my baby needs less than .2 liter of oxygen. He insisted on leaving it.
When I got home, I called the Westchester office one more time. I placed the order one more time. A driver then arrived – less than one hour ago – with… another M tank! I had to explain to him the situation. Thankfully, he took the M tank away and gave me the proper materials.
So, there are two problems here that need remedying:
1. The Brooklyn dispatcher. As I mentioned above, he is extremely rude. He has a terrible reputation in Apria itself. Several of the drivers informed me that he views the customer as the enemy, and some of the dispatchers in Westchester claimed that they had received multiple complaints.
2. The disconnect between Apria customer service representatives, the dispatch office, and the drivers. Every single time I place an order, I end up having to repeat myself to various individuals. Every single time, I invariably receive the wrong materials and have to replace the order. Every single time, I have to wait for hours on end, sometimes two days, sometimes three days, for drivers that show up with the wrong materials. Not only is this frustrating to me as a customer, but it must cost Apria many dollars to keep sending out drivers over and over again. It also must cost CIGNA (my insurance provider) as the contracting company, many dollars. Simply put, I think Apria is probably the single most badly managed company I’ve ever had to deal with.
Apria's poor customer relations and bad management could form the basis of a lawsuit, particularly since life-sustaining materials are being delivered in such a shoddy fashion.
I wrote to Apria's management about the above issues, but received no response.