On October 29, 2015, my water tank leaked and I needed someone to come out to repair it. When I made the service call, I notified ARO that my water tank was still under a free replacement warranty. This was confirmed by *******************. (the water tank manufacturer) and I asked for a quote for their services. The service call lady at A.R.O. informed me that the dispatch fee would be $36.75 and the technician would quote me the price before proceeding with the work.
The technician arrived at approximately 1:30 PM on October 29, 2015 and checked out the water tank. He told me the fee to remove the tank and put in a new one would be $99.99, plus the dispatch fee of $36.75, plus GST. He told me that he was going to buy a new one and install it and that I would only be paying for the actual water tank. I told him that the tank is still under warranty and he needed to go back to ****** and ****** (water tank wholesaler) to honour the free replacement. He went to his truck indicating that he would have to call his boss, came back and told me that he can do that but I would still have to pay them for the tank, as the wholesaler warranty needed to be dealt with the company completing the installation, and not the homeowner. He said it would be fully refunded as soon as they (A.R.O.) received the refund from the manufacturer.
During the installation, the technician notified me that the style of the tank had been changed and he needed to perform some alterations on the tank's pipe. This would cost an additional $145.00, bringing the total to $281.75 plus tax. I gave the go ahead for that amount. I also told him that I needed to run for an appointment at 4:30 PM and told him to proceed with the job. He finished the job and started writing his invoice. When he was done with the invoice I did a quick look (not in detail) and asked him if the price of a new water tank had a cost of $1,995.00. He said he had no idea of the exact cost of the tank, as it is charged to the A.R.O office and he just put in as what he is told by his office personnel (***) and this is a normal cost for a water heater at this size. He assured me again that the office will be doing the warranty on my behalf and those monies would be refunded back to me as soon as they receive the money from the manufacturer.
When I got back home from my appointment and looked at the invoice again, I noticed that he did not note anything on the work order invoice description which indicated that I would get a full refund for the water tank. I read the invoice where he indicated the work performed was under the item (amount of $1,995). This made this additional fee seem as if it was part of the job and there was no mention about the cost of the water tank. As the new tank was purchased by A.R.O. I had no proof that they did a free warranty exchange. I called the technician at approximately 6:30 PM and asked him about the invoice and he said that everything will have to be dealt directly with the office as he had dropped off the truck and all the paper work was not with him, as it was still in the truck.
I called the A.R.O. office right away and was informed that the owner, ***** ******, is the only person who could handle the matter, and the only way to contact him was through messages. I left three messages that evening and several more the next day (October 30, 2015) but I never received a call back.
I went online to investigate reviews of this A.R.O. Plumbing & Heating Inc. and found online reviews that this company was famous for "scamming" people. According to my research, they have had 43 complaints in the last 3 years with the Better Business Bureau. At a rate of 2.8/10 reviews at Homestars.com. Most of these complaints were that the customers were over charged for their services.
I went to the A.R.O. office on Friday, October 30, 2015 (before their posted closing time of 4:30pm) but the doors were closed and installed with mirrored glass, so I was unable to talk to anyone. When I was leaving the location, one of their service trucks pulled in and a man came out and went into another truck with their company logo on it. He looked like a supervisor type of person, so I went and asked him if he was *****, or how I could get a hold of *****. He said he was not ***** and left the parking lot. I then went home and searched for him on ******, found him in ******+ and it was this man's photo that came up with his name.
Although I do not dispute the charges of $36.75 for the service call, and $245.00 for the re-piping work, I am trying to get confirmation from A.R.O. that I will indeed be reimbursed for the payment of $1,995.00 for the warranty-covered unit. They have not responded to my numerous requests to discuss this matter.
Despite of the numerous messages left to the owner between Oct 29 to November 3, I faxed a letter to ARO demanding a phone call to discuss this matter. The owner returned my call on November 4 and insisted that their price is always supply and install. I mentioned to him that I have confirmation from the wholesaler that the refund of the tank had been processed and had credited the amount to the credit card that was used. The owner said he will confirm and will refund only the money that they received and credit back to me. He also insisted that the warranty exchange is a favor he did to me. The water tank total comes to $566.56. However, ***** has still overcharged me for an "installation" fee of $1,995.00 which had not been discussed at any point during the performed service.
Reimbursement of the unspecified "installation" fee of $1,995.00 which was incorrectly designated as the cost for the warranty-covered water tank unit.
Thank you for forwarding this customer's comments to us.
As with all of our customers, our technician ensured to explain all of the pricing and options to the customer up front before he proceeded with any work. Our technician only proceeded with the work that the customer approved, and only charged for the tasks performed. The customer acknowledged on their invoice that they were satisfied with both the work performed as well as the price of the invoice.
Our company offers warranties on products that we supply and install. The original hot water tank at this customer's home was neither supplied nor installed by our company. We are unsure why this customer did not contact the company who had originally supplied and installed her existing hot water tank.
Our technician explained to the customer up front the price to supply and install a new hot water tank, which the customer approved. Our technician also explained to the customer that we would submit an application to the manufacturer on her behalf and whatever amount the manufacturer awarded would be reimbursed to the customer (which has been completed, as noted in the customer's response). In regards to the amount of the reimbursement, our company has no control over how a manufacturer evaluates a warranty application. If the customer would like further information in this respect, they can feel free to contact their hot water tank manufacturer directly.
(The consumer indicated he/she did not accept the response from the business.)
The technician did not explain the pricing and options with me accurately prior to proceeding with the work. He explained that removal and installation would warrant $99.99 and an additional $36.75 would be charged for his dispatchment. The new tank also required a new pipe which would cost $145.00. The services he provided, not covered by my warranty policy, would therefore total $281.75, plus tax. He never mentioned any additional installation fees attached to this job. I was lead to believe that the entire cost of the water tank would be refunded to me through my water tank manufacturer later on and that I would be paying the technician for a few hundred dollars. Upon completing the installation, I inquired about the startling $1,995 invoice fee and asked what the fee was for. Verbally, the technician told me that the $1,995 amount was the price of the water tank, which would be reimbursed to me later on through my warranty policy. However, he had written additional services on the invoice's description which implied that it would be charged as an installation fee, not a supply fee. He led me on to believe that I would be paying an installation and dispatch fee of $281.75, plus tax and that the water tank fee ($1,995) would be reimbursed to me later. In actuality, he charged me a dispatch fee ($36.75), a tank removal and additional piping fee ($99.99 and $145.00, totaling $245.00), and an installation and supply fee ($1,995).
I was overcharged an amount of $1,723.83 as the actual cost of the tank was only $594.89. This overcharged amount was not disclosed to me by the technician as a service fee and instead was passed off as the water tank unit's price.
I was forced to contact your untrustworthy company because the original installing company did not have a technician available to complete the job for me, but I confirmed with the manufacturer that I would be reimbursed for the tank's fee if I had another company install it. They would process the reimbursement for the tank through the company which installed it and the fee would be given back to me through the installer. After submitting the application to the manufacturer on my behalf, your company reluctantly returned the warranty-covered unit's cost after I contacted the owner personally. When I asked about the reimbursement, the owner feigned ignorance and pretended that he did not already receive the amount being repaid for the tank. He did not want to return the money to me until I notified him that I had already received confirmation personally from my own manufacturer that they had distributed it.
Overall, this company has tried to rob me of substantial amounts of money through various tricks. The technician did not properly distinguish the installation and the supply cost to me prior to doing any work on my hot water tank unit. He tricked me by not breaking down the invoice and assuring me that the total sum reflected the cost of the tank, rather than explaining that the invoice partially reflected an installation fee which I had not agreed to. He took advantage of the fact that I was running late for another appointment later on which is how he managed to get me to sign an agreement that I was falsely informed about.
Final Business Response
We do appreciate this customer, as we do all of our customers.
We would like to clarify that our company did not install the original hot water tank. We do not provide warranty for any materials or labour that has not been supplied and installed by our company. We understand that this policy is typical in the industry. Any warranties etc. in relation to this hot water tank and installation would be dealt with through the original installer and/or the manufacturer. Our company has assisted the customer in processing the warranty through the manufacturer but is in no way responsible for the results of the warranty process.
Our company has been in business for many years and strive to maintain a good relationship with all of our customers, and for this reason we would offer a refund of $100.00.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our office.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she did not accept the response from the business.)
Although your company did not install the original water tank unit for my home, you were contacted and subsequently notified me that the new installation you would be doing was done so under my own company's policy.
The procedure was clearly discussed to ensure that at the end of the process, the amount I would be paying would be a few hundred dollars in installation fees, but the actual price of the water tank would be returned through my original company's warranty policy. Upon receipt of the invoice, I noticed that supply and installation of the water tank were compiled as one item and the technician feigned ignorance as to the exaggeration of this amount and passed it off as being only a supply fee.
Due to the foregoing, I feel defrauded and deeply disrespected by your company and disappointed that you will not be held accountable for your lack of transparency.
As a result I would not recommend your company to anyone for new business. In these slow economic times, there are many companies to choose from and I for one would choose a company that has a reputation of showing goodwill by not cheating their customers and then feigning ignorance of wrongdoing when confronted.