Failure to provide follow-up service on a malfunctioning WaterFurnace unit
I'm not usually a complainer-type consumer, but I would like to spread the word on the poor customer service of Sisler Heating and Cooling, Inc. We had a geothermal unit installed 1 year and 1 month ago. (WaterFurnace 5 series, 5 ton dual capacity, model # NDV064F111CTLOAA). It started leaking a bit, and when I called for service, they tried to tell me that because it was over a year ago, they would recommend having another company service it. My husband wanted them to do it, since they were the ones that installed it.
Sisler initially said they would charge a travel fee of $50 each trip since we live over an hour from ******, (even though they had no problem traveling here for the 2 weeks they spent installing it). A couple of days later someone else from the company called and said they just didn't have the personnel to service it and they wouldn't come at all. As an aside, the second individual stated the travel fee would have been $100 a trip even if they did come out, which they WOULDN'T.
Furthermore, before all this happened, when we had an electrician come in on an un-related matter, the electrician found a loose, LIVE wire that Sisler left laying on top of the ductwork. We didn't bother to call Sisler to fix this; we just had it corrected on the spot.
What irks me the most about this is not that we had a problem 1 month after the initial warranty expired (the total cost for another WaterFurnace company to come fix it was only $60), it's the fact that Sisler refused to make some effort to stand behind their work.
They ensured us that they have excellent customer service, but then when we have a minor problem, they won't even come to take a look at it. I guess the travel distance was worth their time to install the unit, but not worth their time to provide customer care. Lastly, when I called to verbalize my displeasure with their lack of service, the lady was curt, and well... down-right rude. This is the first public complaint I have ever made about a company, and I am not doing it out of spite, I am doing it to save someone else the dissatisfaction of doing business with Sisler Heating and Cooling, Inc.
I would really just like sisler to come fix the unit, and fix it right. Another company we had service it thought it was due to a loose bracket, checked the pressures, etc. It stopped leaking for ~2 weeks, but is now leaking again.
Business' Initial Response
The person from our company who initially spoke to the customer had told him that we were no longer servicing long distance customers and the customer insisted we come. The person in the office spoke to Mr. ****** and proceeded to quote the wrong trip charge and agree to travel to his home to do the service. He is not the service scheduler and should not have been quoting prices or agreeing to go to the customer's home.
When I arrived and saw the call on the schedule, the person was reprimanded for both scheduling the call and quoting the wrong price. One of our two full time service technicians recently left our company to start his own business, leaving us with only one qualified service technician to perform service for Waterfurnace units for all of our customers. The technicians are required to be factory trained and certified. Therefore, we have stopped traveling long distances to perform service for units that are out of warranty through us.
We are not refusing service for any unit that is still within our one year warranty period. The customer can receive the parts warranty from the manufacturer from any Waterfurnace dealer. It is impossible to carry all of the parts necessary to repair all of the units Waterfurnace makes, and if a part is needed, the likelihood of our having the part needed to repair units is very slim.
This means that we would be required to make a return trip to the customer's home after the unit is diagnosed. Each trip would take nearly 1/2 of the serviceman's 8 hour day. We have met our requirement of providing the coverage of the warranty period for the customer, and simply do not have enough qualified technicians to perform service for long distance customers. We have never refused to stand behind our work, and the units need to be maintained. There are drains on the units that get clogged with dirt and algae and the drains must be cleaned or they begin over flowing with water and I discussed this with the customer when I told him we could not come to his home.
The customer needs to secure a dealer for failures and routine maintenance that is closer to them for many reasons, including emergency repairs in the extremely cold months. The only workmanship issue the customer has spoken of was not even brought to our attention until 13 months after the installation was completed. We were never told of the "live wire" and there is no reference of what the wire was removed from or never connected to, it seems odd that the electrician found it during an unrelated electrical call. A loose "live wire" laying on top of ductwork would be something our company would specifically want to know about! I was right next to the service scheduler when Mrs. ********** called after I spoke to Mr. **********, and while I only heard what our representative said, it was in no way rude. I heard her say, "We already spoke to your husband, we explained everything to your husband, thank you."
I do not know what bracket the company that performed service for the customer is speaking of, we do not know of any brackets that would cause water leaks. But as I said, the drain needs cleaned at least once a year and possibly more often if the customer is in a dusty area or has pets. The unit should be maintained at least once a year. We stand behind our work, and this is not about our workmanship, it is about the lack of personnel to travel long distances for service. We do not manufacture the units and just like a car, or any machine, it will fail and it needs to be maintained. There are too many reasons why we cannot continue to travel long distances. We carry a thirty day labor warranty for parts replaced and customers often think this means if the unit breaks again within thirty days, we will return for any reason for free. With that being said, parts are not made by us and can fail, so if a part we replaced fails within 30 days, we must return to replace the part at no charge, costing us 1/2 day labor.
If customers do not replace filters regularly, the parts overheat and fail and we cannot monitor filter changes, nor do we know if the customer has replaced the filter since the installation was completed. The service technician may find one part bad, the unit starts and runs for a period of time, then another part fails, we must return. We do not know how many service calls will be needed now or in the future for the unit. The complaint states the dealer only charged $60.00 for the repair and that company should have a service call warranty for the same problem just as we do. Why would they wish to pay our rates when they can receive the same service at a much lower rate? Upon figuring job costs, we found the $100.00 trip charge does not even cover the wage and overhead cost for the employee to service units over an hour away from our home base, therefore, we are no longer installing units at customer's homes that are long distances unless the customer knows and agrees to finding local service.
Some people agree to this because they know that we have an extremely good reputation and we are sought after to install systems. Our installation rates are far lower than our competition because we install the entire system ourselves, and others subcontract the loops. We do it right and if it were not installed properly, it would have been an issue during the first year and we would have resolved it at no cost. If this complaint were anything about our not providing proper warranty or workmanship to our customers, we would agree to resolve this and repair the unit. Since it is about our not agreeing to service an out of warranty unit that would take us at least 70 minutes to travel both ways, each time it needs repairs, with only one qualified service technician, we are forced to let it remain on our record.
Furthermore, we would not wish to perform service for any customer who posts derogatory opinions on social networking websites as Mrs. ********** did. Not everything said was truthful, and it was just that, an opinion. It is highly controversial on the legalities of stating on social websites that we provide poor customer service, do not stand behind our work, and are rude. It is her opinion and is not a fact. Thank you for your time.