Apparently there is something about my kind demeanor toward people that make them think I am a push over and easy to manipulate. I can tell you right now I did not fall off a turnip truck yesterday and my momma didn’t raise no fool.
Case in point…
It is summer time here in East Texas which means the air conditioners need to be in full swing and in good working order. Well, if you have a decent unit, you want to keep it that way by having it serviced and maintained properly. Since we are near the middle of July I thought it might be a good time to have it done even though we have had NO ISSUES and our units have been working just fine. I know I should have done it at the beginning of summer but my life has been a bit crazy and this was the first week I had to get caught up on a few things around the house like the HVAC service.
So I called the guy who came LAST YEAR (a very good reputable company) because I was pleased with his professional attitude and the way he took care of us. Since it was a service call, he put the little bit of Freon in our unit we needed and didn’t even charge us for it. It was indeed the owner who came so I thought it would be a good idea to have them come again. Right?
Well, a couple of his guys show up and after they start working on our units, proceed to tell us we are low on Freon by 4lbs in our large unit (5 ton) and down at least a lb in our smaller unit (2 ton). Ok, maybe a pound low after a year is nothing uncommon, but 4 POUNDS on the other one??
Me: “Really?? WOW! That’s a lot, we must have a leak.”
Technician: “Oh Yes Ma’am you have a leak in BOTH units! And according to the serial number, the large one is out of warranty and we can’t replace the coil in it because they don’t make replacement coils for that unit anymore”.
Me: “Really?? Well that doesn’t make sense because we only had that unit installed 4 years ago and it is supposed to have a 5 year warranty.”
Technician: “Oh no, your warranty is out because whoever bought this unit didn’t register it so it goes all the way back to the day THEY purchased it (supposedly June 2010) so your warranty has been out about a month!”
Me: “Really?? OMG! What about the smaller unit?”
Technician: “Oh yeah, it is the original unit to the house and it is out of warranty but your leak is probably so small you don’t have to worry about it right now. Now… I can get a coil to retro fit this big one, but you need to replace the outside unit to do that and since both outside units are 10 years old, you might want to replace both of them! However, you really need to replace that big unit because it doesn’t meet EPA standards anymore. You have to have one that is a SEER 14 according to changes the EPA just made this year and the one you have is only an 11.” (whatever the hec that means)
Me: “Oh my goodness, well it is a real good thing we called you guys because we had no idea all that was going on!!”
Technician: “Oh yes ma’am, we need to go ahead and put the R-22 Freon in your unit (@ $56.00 a lb because it is ‘liquid gold’ since the EPA is phasing it out) so it will run right, otherwise it is going to be blowing hot air since you have such a bad leak! And as soon as I get back to the office I can put some numbers together and tell you what all your options are.”
Me: “Oh ok, well that is a lot of money so we will do some research to figure out on our end what we can do also.”
Technician: “Oh yeah..yeah, that is a good idea! Now, I’m not telling you that you gotta do anything right away because everything is working just fine at the moment. But it could stop any minute!! And here it is the middle of July and you don’t want to be without air!”
That wasn’t even all of the conversation. That was just the main bits!
After writing a check for $426.00 and now that we have made some calls and done some research… because when you are talking about several thousands of dollars in new air equipment it is usually wise to get some price quotes, I’m a wreck! The first call was to a very dear friend who had a similar experience last year. After A LOT of money and a horrible learning experience he found someone he trusts who has been doing this work for many years and has an impeccable reputation. Great!! Will be awesome for a second opinion, right?? Right!
So I call up Mr. Johnny! “Hi, my name is Kim Templin (real name y’all) and my friend George (not real name) recommended I give you a call. We had someone come to our house this morning who has given us some very bad news and we need to get a couple of estimates to figure out what our options are. Can you help me?”
Mr. Johnny (a very kind man): “Why… certainly young lady, George is a good customer and I will be happy to help you out, what seems to be the problem?”
Me: “Well, this is what I was told…. Yadda yadda yadda!” I go through everything I was told.
Mr. Johnny: “He said WHAT??”
Me: “Oh yes, he said yadda yadda yadda and he also told me blah blah blah!” (not going to repeat conversation)
Mr. Johnny: “Ok, well, first of all. I don’t believe it is quite that bad.
- If your unit was installed 4 years ago, it should still be under warranty…unless it sat on a shelf for a couple of years.
- I know that particular brand because I have been doing this for many years on both the retail and wholesale side and I don’t know of any model that they don’t make a replacement coil for.
- If your unit was installed in the last 15 years it HAS to be at least a SEER 13 because it is a LAW that anything manufactured after 1996 was mandated a SEER 13. There hasn’t been a SEER 11 since the 1980s.
- If your unit was cooling, I think it is unlikely you had a 4 lb deficiency on Freon.
- If you have all electric units, there is no way to replace and retro fit a coil like he told you… That can only be done on a gas unit (and proceeded to explain to me why this couldn’t be done)
- I don’t want to tell you he didn’t do his job, but I think I need to come look at your units before you spend a bunch of money and I will give you an honest answer. I will tell you if you have a leak etc.
Me: “Ok, please come take a look. I do not mind paying someone else a service call if it will save me $$$”
8:00AM Friday morning… knock, knock, knock!
Technician #2 “Hi, my name is Jason and I work for Mr. Johnny. I’m here to look at your units and see what is wrong with them.”
Me: “Come right in Jason! The units are right this way!”
Lie#1. Technician team # 2 used the EXACT same kind of leak detector the other guy had. It SHOWED NOTHING! No leaks… on EITHER unit!
Lie #2. If you were 4lbs low on Freon (that’s half of the total amount it holds) your house would have been 85 degrees and it would have been blowing hot air. (Btw my house had been 68 the night before and it was currently cooling at 72 yesterday morning) Tech #1 was right about them phasing out the R-22, but it was still $20 more than the going rate!
Lie #3. Your unit IS still under warranty. It was MANUFACTURED in August of 2010 so it IS about to run out. But it is current for another month. The first guy told me it was PURCHASED in June of 2010! WHAT??
Lie #4. Tech #2 also said Yes! They make a replacement coil for this brand… in fact he installed one just 2 weeks ago for someone else! BUT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS ONE!!!
Lie #5. Both of your units are SEER 13s. I don’t even know if a SEER 11 can be purchased in the last few years. Well… he would be correct since the last SEER 11 units were manufactured in 1985!!!!
SO… I don’t know what makes me more angry!! He thought we were SOO STUPID we would just listen to his advice and spend XXX$$$?? Or that he tried to scam us and get away with it? OR that if he did this to us, who else has he done this to?? I want to call his boss and get his ass fired SO BAD! But I am going to wait and see what “numbers” he comes back with and give him juuuuust enough rope to hang himself. Then I am going to call the owner and have a talk with him. I have no idea what I will do then. I guess it will depend on his reaction. I am LIVID!!! There is steam blowing out my ears right now! What’s worse is that I have to wait until MONDAY Grrrrr!!
What would you do if this happened to you? Has this happened to you? Would you just drop it, or call and get him fired?? I am so not that person (usually) but I just don’t know if I can let this one go without doing SOMETHING!