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Veryphine Says Canceling Much-Maligned, New Service Would Be "Premature"
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WATERTON, MI - The Veryphine Water Company today raised the hackles of its estimated 25 million customers by instituting its new "TruTemp" service. The service sends water pre-heated to a given temperature to its consumers. Prior to this, when a customer turned on the tap, a combination of hot and cold water was released, "and this is absolutely not what the average water customer wants," says Arly Davidson, Chief of Marketing for the mega-monopoly. "Our research shows that customers are looking for a specific temperature of water when they turn on the tap. Whether it's 101 for a bath or 55 for a cool, refreshing drink, they want consistency. And we're providing that. For free."

Water users don't agree. "When I turn on the taps, I want water, not a phone call!" says irate consumer Tom, who refused to give his last name. With the advent of the service, any time the taps are turned on, a water company representative calls the consumer and asks what temperature they are looking for. Until a figure is given, no water is released. "We make suggestions," says Madeline, an operator at Veryphine, "we ask how the water will be used so we can tailor the water experience to each user." Once a temperature is agreed upon, the water flows, usually in a few seconds.

At least one consumer seemed unconcerned. "It's not so bad, I guess. I mean, it's free, right?" says Harold Reese. "And some of those ads were interesting."

The ads are another thing that have privacy advocates outraged, claiming the company will reap millions of dollars in ad revenue. The automated ads presented after the operator hangs up are tailored based on the temperature patterns selected, as well as the geographic location. "This is all in the best interests of our customers," Davidson says.

WEWONT (WatEr Works Oversight for National Trust), the government sponsored watchdog for the Water distribution industry, has issued its strongest petition to Veryphine to, "please, please stop doing this." Veryphine's response said in part, "While we respect your right to disagree, the usage data speaks for itself. We have disbursed one hundred and thirty million gallons of water since the service was introduced. The masses are voting with their mouths. We have assembled a team of water drinkers from across the globe to discuss the issues. Any action at this time would be premature."

Already lawsuits are pending. Myron Tod, lawyer for AquaComfort (a leading supplier of water-heaters), said "This is cutting directly into our business, it's anti-competitive, and it's wrong." The electric and gas companies -- also clearly impacted by this service -- have so far been watching from the sidelines. "Water-heating is a small part of our business," said a gas company representative, "we won't be harmed by Veryphine's move."

"This is simply a very vocal minority," says Davidson of Veryphine, "most users are pleased with our new service, making an often confusing process a much more clear and consistent one."

Time will tell. So far, Veryphine seems willing to whether the flood of complaints they're generating.
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