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BBB Accredited Business since 10/01/1982

AJ Michaels Co., Inc.

Phone: (410) 435-5400Fax: (410) 435-7309

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Customer Complaints Summary

5 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Problems with Product / Service5
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints5

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (5)BBB Closure Definitions
04/14/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Company replaced sewer line. We have had a 2nd sink hole and water still leaking on sidewalk. Sent emails and left call. No response.
My wife and I decided to use A.J.M to repair our collapsed sewer line. The day following the job completion we noticed water leaking from the water meter, the water meter cap left broken, the PVC 2nd "clean out" section that was added to the sewer line was completely buried under dirt, and a major sink hole appeared by the first clean out.(The main water line was also broken by AJM and replaced during the sewer line replacement). The next day, our neighbors asked "who left your property like this?" We placed a call to AJM and they came out to resolve these issues. Since then, the sink hole has returned and the water leaks have gotten worse. I sent an email to the account supervisor and a customer rep. to no avail. In the interim, I placed a call with the dept. of public works. They found a leak at the meter. The meter was removed and a straight line was put in its place until they can replace the new meter. We thought maybe the water leak was all caused by the water line. We all realized this was not the case. The water is still leaking onto our entire sidewalk/down our street which was all extremely dangerous because of the ice that formed on the sidewalk during this cold season. We have lived in our home since 95' and never have we had any water leaks like this. We feel as if AJM received payment for their services and at this point, we are on our own. We believe AJM should never have left the property in such a mess to. We do appreciate them coming out post job to address our concerns however, they were not all resolved. Like everyone, we work hard for every penny and to spend $5,000 on a repair, and to leave a customer without a response or to address concerns is unacceptable.
*Last Email: 3-10-14 AJ Michaels
"Ms. *****,
I hope all is well. I had a multiple sclerosis relapse which took me out for a while. I was having severe issues when the "needing signatures" situation had occurred. (NOTE: The "cancellation of job" document was missing on their end). **** and I went directly to ******* ******* and resolved the problem. I try to be extremely kind to folks in every situation but this last relapse was rather hard on me. I apologize for all the difficulties that were caused with the letter mix-up.
Fast forward to the present.
The "sink hole" by the clean out (next to the house) has developed back into a sink hole again. The work that you guys had done on the 2nd visit looks great however, since the job, the sink hole has returned but more importantly, we have been experiencing a water leak DAILY onto our sidewalk. This is not from the meter but actually at the sidewalk where the job was done. I placed a call today to Baltimore City Water Dept. for them to take a look at this as **** and I do not want to be surprised with a 1,000 water bill. I will let you know what they find. Thanks again for all your help and I wish you and the company well always!
Sincerely,
********* (Last email I sent to ****** 2/17/14)

Present day: 3-28-14 Water is still leaking all down our sidewalk and down our street. The 1st cleanout sink hole is getting worse and still, no response from AJM. Our sidewalk by the house was cut to get the machinery in place. I had to ask them machine operator to place the piece of sidewalk back. He had place dirt in its place so instead of removing the dirt, he place the sidewalk where it should be however, it will now be 6 inches higher than the remainder of our sidewalk. Post Air Force, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I now have issues with balance and walking and this mess certainly leaves us in a bind. AJM also had to cut out a section of our stone wall in front of our home which we knew about. However, they mistakenly placed a cut in a section of the wall which decreases its strength. They never bothered to mention this. In summary, my wife and I knew we would have a tremendous amount of work to do but still have a sink hole and water leaks?
Thank you.

Desired Settlement
We need to know what is causing the leaks and to address the sink hole. The extra cut on the wall should be fixed and the sidewalk by our home should be leveled. I have fought for our country, choose to work instead of going on disability, My wife is involved with law enforcement on a K-9 search and rescue team and has 2 lives saved. All we want is to have a properly working home. I say Thank God everyday that we do have a roof over our heads but we have given it all for our country. Can't we at least get the proper service we have paid for? Sincerely, ******************

Business Response
This complaint will be attended to immediately. There has been a BREAK-DOWN with our internal communication during a period of upgrading our phones and e-mails. Their follow up with the issues over the dig should have never been directed to ***** or ******* ***** left our company for personal reasons a month ago, and ****** is not in the Service Department. The Service department which handles these follow ups was unaware of any issues the customer was having beyond a February 7 follow up. Again, OUR FAULT! We will contact customer and follow up with the leak and settlement concerns.
We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration the customer has endured. Our field supervisor will do an inspection of property and initiate the necessary repairs.

09/06/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Company and co. subcontractor failed to properly install oil fired furnace, appropriate liner, chimney cap & crown which resulted in danger and damage
AJ Michael's was paid over $8000.00 to replace oil fired furnace to which they stipulated that the chimney needed to be up to code before the furnace can be installed. AJ Michael's stipulated that the chimney needed masonry bricks repaired approx. 6 to 8 bricks down from top all around, flashing, new crown, new liners approp. for type of furnace heat & gases, and cap (see pic.). The co. had been called regarding a yellowish build up & I was told it was condensation. It was later discovered 2012 when the furnace would not stay running due to a nozzle &cad cell replacement after another company came to clean & they removed the stack to clean the furnace that corrosion of the gases ate through the elbow within the chimney walls to which the gases were escaping the fitting & where it directly goes into the wall of the chimney bricks (pics avail). I immediately contacted AJ Michaels & they indicated that I needed to pay $99.00 service call to which would be applied towards any work that need to be done. When I indicated to the service tech ALL of the concerns besides the furnace nozzle and cad cell; he indicated he would relay my information to the company. The service tech for the $99.00 stipulated that there was a leak to the block also. As the furnace is currently under warranty; I made numerous calls to AJ Michael's & only received a response when I indicated that I contacted the manufacturer regarding the issue(s). Before I knew it a gentleman later to be AJ Michael's Mr. *** ***** was contacting me (I'm at work) from inside of my house where he gained entry by talking to my now senior mother to which he had already been in my basement before contacting me that he was there or the fact he was coming to my house. I was quite disturbed by this as my 82 year old mother should not have opened the door. Mr. ***** indicated that they would take care of the issues after hearing my concerns to which I was appreciative; however, he refused to accept that ruling of his employee that there was a leak in the core. He also indicated that the chimney company that AJ Michaels used at the time of the installation was no longer with their co., but he would have his chimney guy from Ace of Diamonds (owner ***) come & look at the chimney before they get started with fixing the issue. Note: At no charge. I met with Ace of Diamonds owner to which he had his staff go up on the roof as we stood below. The staff started laughing &indicating what a ridiculous job had been done. That "it looked like the company just took a piece of sheet metal and laid on top to which I requested pics with his cell phone for me. Ace of Diamonds then went into the basement & looked at the end of the liner which suppose to meet the furnace & indicated that the liner was too short & the wrong materials type for gases and heat of this furnace were used. He indicated that he would tell Mr. ***** & forward me &him the pics. The furnace was service and vent totally redone & leak discove. It was months before I got the pics& by this time Mr. *** was indicating a diff. story. Although AJ was now anxious to replace the warranty core for $500 (labor) I advised them that it made no point if the chimney was not corrected & could not trust after I finally saw the pics what the chimney co did & installed. Now Mr. ***** was saying a diff. story re: chimney & now stated that the work was done appro. at 1st. Then Mr. *** refused to talk directly to me & had an email sent from his office that the prior Chimney Co. w/ AJ work was approp. AJs office kept contacting me about scheduling the install of core to which I explained there was no point in core install prior if the chim. needs sweept, correct liner & approp. crown & cap for all the soot to go into furnace just cleaned. Pics will be furnished.The furnace was not vented correctly and possible poisoning to the interior home environ.Espec. a few yrs later AJ serv a leak & cut 30 in tunnel about 15 ft in my foyer direct opening basement

Desired Settlement
AJ MICHAELS HAD AN IMPLIED DUTY TO ENSURE THE SERVICES REQUIRED & PERFORMED BY CONTRACT WAS IN A CAREFUL, SKILLFUL, DILIGENT AND WORKMANLIKE MANNER. AJ MICHAELS SHOULD HAVE KEPT THEIR WORD THAT THEY WOULD MAKE GOOD ON DEFICITS WHICH MAY HAVE POSE POSSIBLE HEALTH RISK TO MY FAMILY. INSTEAD, AFTER REALIZING THE RIDICULOUS WORK DONE ON THE CHIMNEY THEY ARE SKIRTING THE ISSUES AND NOT TO MENTION MR. ***** KEEPS GOING UP ON THE FEE FOR THE INSTALLATION OF THE CORE AS I CONTINUE TO SEEK ANSWERS. I WAS REQUESTING BACK IN NOV. THAT AJ MICHAELS CORRECT DEFICITS BY HAVING THE ORIGINAL WORK DONE WHICH IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS WAS NOT! WAS NOT DONE! THIS WHOLE SITUATION HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE & THIS EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF ANY CONSUMER AND MORESO THAT OF THE FEMALE/ELDERLY SENIOR POPULATION IS PLAGUE OF GREED. $8000.00 FOR WHAT????? A OIL FIRED FURNACE AND A PIECE OF SHEET METAL ON TOP OF MY CHIMNEY AND ALUMINUM FOIL AS A LINER. AJ MICHAELS EVEN TO THIS DAY WILL NOT DISCLOSE THE NAME OF THE CHIMNEY COMPANY THEY USED AT THAT TIME ACTING LIKE THEY FORGOT A COMPANY THAT THEY PAID OUT OF THE $8000.00. THE CONTRACT WAS BETWEEN US AND AJ MICHAELS, NOT THE SUBCONTRACTOR THAT AJ BROUGHT IN AS AN EXPERT FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK. APPARENTLY AJ MICHAELS FEEL THAT THE PROBLEM WITH THE WORK PERFORMED BY THE CHIMNEY COMPANY THEY EMPLOYED THAT MY RECOURSE IS TO SEEK OUT THOSE INDIVIDUALS , AND THAT AJ MICHAELS ARE NOT CONTRACTUALLY LIABLE. I FEEL THAT AJ MICHAELS HAD A CONTRACTUAL DUTY TO INSTALL FURNACE AND COMPONENTS AS INVOLVED AS THEY INDICATED WAS NEEDED TO FOR SUCH FURNACE TO OPERATE SAFELY AND CORRECTLY THROUGH COMPLETION IN A WORKMANLIKE MANNER. IT WAS DISCOVER THAT CHIMNEY CO. CLOSED OFF THE LINER TO THE LIVING ROOM FIRE PLACE AND HOW WAS MY FAMILY AFFECTED WHEN WE BURNED THE GAS FIREPLACE IN THE WINTER. SETTLEMENT IS NOT AN OPTION WITH THIS COMPANY BECAUSE IT WOULD NOT HAVE TO TAKE THIS LONG OR THIS REPORT. THEY ARE JUST WAITING FOR MY WARRANTY TO EXPIRE AND THEY CAN WIPE THEIR HANDS CLEAN OF ME. COPY OF THIS REPORT IS THE INITIAL STAGE TO REPORT THIS COMPANY. I HAVE TWO OTHER EXAMPLES OF WORK THEY DID TO WHICH THEY AS INDICATED DESTROYED THE WALL AT THE TIME THEY SEMI FIXED JUST DON'T LET TUB FILL UP TO OVERFLOW DRAIN. A LEAK FOR ABOUT $3000 FOR MY MOTHER AND WHEN I QUESTIONED WHY DIDN'T THEY REDO THE DRYWALL AT THAT TIME THEY INDICATED THEY TEAR OUT TO FIX BUT DO NOT REPLACE WALL BACK BECAUSE THEY DO NOT DO THAT KIND OF WORK YET THEY INDICATED THAT THEY INSTALL BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS, ETC. .... PICS OF ALL OF THIS IS AVAILABLE . THERE HAS TO BE SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT WILL LISTEN TO THIS STORY .

Business' Initial Response
Yes, like all other businesses our rates are changing. Between expenses and fee's in Baltimore City, Health Insurance, Comp Ins, etc............ our overhead will change with the times like everyone else.

I agree her crown work needs to be repaired and portions of the chimney brick work needs to be pointed up. 90 years in wind, rain, ice, snow the crown work should be checked often. I personally check my crown work at home every year. We installed a liner as part of a boiler installation. The liner is in use, stainless steel and ready for years of additional service. Nowhere are we responsible to rework the masonry or crown work.
(after high winds or freezing rains you can drive around the city and find toppled chimney's, if they are maintained properly and the masonry is inspected regularly, these collapses can be avoided)

I will be happy to again have a quote provided for a mason to repair the aged chimney.

We have a stainless steel liner in chimney, the fitting that was used to tie into the liner at the base was aluminum, we replaced that 10" peice at no charge. However this is not related to the crown work. We are no more responsible for the crown of the chimney as we would be for the roof flashing to the brick of the chimney or any other part on the exterior.

The Customer paid the 8,000.00 for a boiler removal, boiler, boiler installation, permits, and a liner. the liner installed 8.5 years ago made up for less than 8% of the cost. no crown work was included nor is it included today in our proposals.

This is home maintenance, just like gutters, window caulking, exterior trim repairs, and porches.

The issue over the plumbing repair was clear in the contract. We can't give a price on wall and ceiling repairs when we are not aware of the amount of either that needs to be removed to complete repairs. Our contract was for the repair of the piping only.

Lastly, her boiler is currently leaking due to lack of proper maintenance. The target wall was removed by her oil company inside the fire chamber, this is a known cause of cast iron failure when missing. We went to her defense with the manufacturer and got a new boiler block (all new sections for free). I gave her a very reasonable price of around 615.00 to install. A VERY CHEAP PRICE!!!!! If our manufacturer saw the existing report from our Mechanic, they would charge us for the block, thus us charging her !!!!

We have been trying to schedule the block replacement for over a half a year now, WE ARE NOT STALLING, Miss ***** is!!!!! The piece of metal flashing is irrelevant, the crown work has been an ignored issue for decades. She needs to put some time and repairs into the exterior chimney that has years of weather damage and wear.

Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The $8000 was paid for chimney work and the boiler installation. The Chimney company back then told us that brick work needed to be done before they put on the crown and cap. They also covered up or close my exhaust from the dining room gas fireplace without authorization. Do you think I would have paid for someone to take a sheet of sheet metal, lay it on top and bend down one end with their hand and call it a crown with no seal/sealant anything for $8000 job??? As far as a stainless steel liner; I don't know what kind of liner is there after finding out that the chimney company put too short of a liner and then a connector to compensate which was the incorrect material to which gases escaped into my house and up the chimney. If the chimney company did that kind of work at the top do you really think they had any kind of ethical integrity to do the remainder of the job right! They took advantage of a senior / females and minority AND figured right that we would not be on top of the roof to see what was done. The boiler had been serviced but one could ascertain the rain and elements coming into the chimney from that unsealed/poor crown and cap went down & into my boiler. The caustic gases as indicated by another chimney co. where the inferior elbow/wrong material most likely damaged the chimney and seeped into the house environment should be considered hazardous. In regard to the leak, AJ Michaels tech $99 told me & reported that and I told the *** ***** (pres.) that BEFORE AJ Michaels came to fix the gas leaking and piping to chimney. Mr. ***** insisted that it wasn't ONLY to have his tech spend 8 hours correcting part of their deficits and then called me from my work when I met them at the house after they completed that after completion there is a leak in the core (WHAT THEIR MAN ASCERTAINED A WEEK PRIOR) AND THAT IT WOULD GET WORST. Mr. ***** then told me it would be $500 and they would get the warranty core from manufacturer. In the interim as waiting on the new chimney guy (Ace of Diamonds) to give report that they told me to Mr. *****. Mr. ***** then tells me on the phone that it would be $600 to replace the core which in effect is $700 because they never said anything about applying the $99 for the first tech to the work. Why would a co. knowing there is a leak spend 8 hours fixing the boiler and then complete the job and that very minute after completion of 8 hours of work say, "Oh a leak was discovered". It wasn't discovered when you already knew a week earlier. It appears to me that they wanted to get into my house and fix the hazard before I contacted someone else regarding the concerns. They wanted to appear that they were doing me a favor but in reality keep jacking up the fees because now I'm at their mercy because it is leaking. In regard to it being a half a year for them to replace the leaking block as I indicated to Mr. ***** and his staff; it makes no sense to do all the work associated with the block replacement until they correct the damage that unskilled company did to my chimney as there is the possibility of incorrect liner and them choking us out if improper blocking of my fireplace clay liner. I will contact the manufacturer for all my phone contacts and concerns. Oh by the way, I didn't see where he mentioned that I am to sign up with them for a service plan over $300 for now and in the future in order for them to replace the block!!! I will be communicating with the DLLR regarding AJ Michaels response and how convenient that they say they lost my paperwork and prior calls regarding the chimney/boiler. I was hoping that they would step to the plate especially after they saw those pictures but I guess money was more important than safety and integrity. Lastly, he states that the crown work has been ignored for decades-WELL THATS NO ACCURATE. IT HAS BEEN IGNORED SINCE YOUR CHIMNEY GUY POINTED, CROWN, CAPPED MY CHIMNEY 8 YEARS AGO-OH I FORGOT HE DIDN'T DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS BUT LAID A SHEET OF METAL ON TOP OF THE BRICKS, PUT IN INFERIOR SHORT LINER (COULDN'T MEASURE ALSO) AND THEN A SAFETY HAZARD -INFERIOR MATERIAL (NOT TO CODE) ELBOW TO JOIN TO THE TOO SHORT NOT APPROPRIATE LINER TO GAS US SLOWLY!!! I SEE THIS WILL NEED TO BE TAKEN TO A REGULATORY BOARD ON SO MANY LEVELS.

Business' Final Response
Since the last communication with the BBB, we found our customers' actual file (filed under wrong year, we needed this due to a server crash in 2006 that wiped out a lot of our customers' information). Unlike our traditional contracts with customers we are responsible for the crown work on the chimney. I contacted the customer and we are moving forward with having the chimney crown repaired.

Consumer Response
******** ***** -****-
2:43 PM (35 minutes ago)

to ****** ***, *******, me
Update.

CASE NO: BBB Complaint Case#********(Ref#XX-XXXX-XXXXXXXX-XX-XXXX)

Mr. *******

I am providing you with an update since our last correspondence. Today (9/6/13), AJ Michaels completed the work as promised. The entire furnace, piping, exhaust piping looks great and A.J Michaels did honor the original fee of $500.00. Although it is currently not time to start to burn the oil-fired furnace as yet; I do not anticipate any problems. However, I will contact them to read the tuned stats once the temperature dips and the furnace has run to heat house (its kind of hard to judge full functioning, if not using heat right now and I appreciate them not trying to heat up my whole house in 80 degree weather with oil prices being $3.899 a gallon). *** of ******** ******* (authorized by *** *****-A.J Michaels) had completed the entire chimney issue externally and the chimney looks like how a chimney should look. Although they missed today's date for the chimney sweeping as A.J Michaels complete the remaining furnace issue; they promised to come next Friday to finish (internal concerns) by sweeping.

I will provide my final comments to this case by September 30, 2013.

I trust that this information was helpful.

Regards

******** *****, *** ****** ********
MD ****** and ***********
**** ********* ******
********** ** XXXXX-XXXX
(XXX) XXX-XXXX
Email: **************@maryland.gov





08/26/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Sewer line that was installed to stop basement flooding doesn't work. City connection is 4" higher than house. $4000 later still has same problem.
On 12/3/12,**** ***** of AJ Michaels lead a crew that was to install a sewer line that was to stop the basement flooding problem that I was having. They laid new PVC from the house to the city connection. As they finished making the connection the installers noted that the city connection is 4" higher than the house. The whole was filled in with the new pipe. The plumbers placed a couple of bricks under the 45 degree elbow of the pipe. After talking to a few random plumbers and the city, the correct procedure is to install sand & pea gravel to stabilize the soil which is city code.The problem was not fixed, the basement flooded about a week later.The opinion of the foreman of the city sewer crew that the belly is because wet soil and lack of foundation. As the plumbing crew was filling in the hole,**** ***** told me that I should speak to the city about lowering their connection and that I should consider a sewer ejection system which was an additional $6000+. After talking to city engineers at water and wastewater, I was informed that AJ Michaels should have know the depth of the city connection after they filed for the permits.**** ***** told me that they was no way to determine the depth of the city connection before digging. A week later I found a pipe depth finder that was accurate +/- 1 inch. Since the basement continued to flood the tenants refused to pay even a reduced rent which led to their eviction. The property is unusable at this time. After the digging, the front steps pulled away from the house. I can't replace them until this issue is resolved. As it stands now I've paid $4025 by American Express to have a PVC pipe installed that does nothing to correct the problem that I hired AJ Michaels to fix.

Desired Settlement
I would like a refund of $4000 and I would find a new plumber to do the job correctly. I've talked to a real estate executive who recommended that I sue for lost income from the loss of tenants,the $4025, and damages to the property which are considerably more than the $4000 I think would be fair.

Business' Initial Response
I've attached two letters for the BBB case worker to read, we cannot change a situation the sewer department needs to handle, the house connection is lower than the sewer tap in the street. We offered a remedy to the customer, however it is not our responsibility to pay for the option.

Good Morning,

Please read this first, we can't correct this problem without major changes to the home due to existing street main piping, nor can we work in the public right of way on the city sewer main. Dimensions are dimensions, waste cannot run downhill if there is no fall. We have found this at different homes over the years, a sewer injector pit and pump is the remedy but we are no responsible for the modification and installation of such a system.
His fight is with the city sewer department not us. If they had a connection that was lower than his house connection, we would have proper fall and this job would have been completed like all the other jobs we do everyday.


***** *****

Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The issues that I have with the plumber's response, is that after talking to city engineers (at the plumber's recommendation). I was informed that the plumber would have known the height of the city connection when they got the work permit from the city. One of the engineers gave me a copy of the record indicating the position of the connection. At the time of installation the plumber said the there was no way to tell the height of the city connection. That night I found a detector that is accurate to +/- one inch. My point is that there are at least 2 methods that I found to determine the height of the connections and I'm not even a plumber. I'm sure that the plumber assumed that this would be a simple "hook up and go" sewer job, and did not fully assess the situation. And for him to tell me that it would cost approximately $6000 for a sewer injector and another $4000 to lay a new sewer line was intolerable. I was assured that the work would be done correctly and the problem of the basement flooding would be solved. Neither was done and I'm out $4025.

Business' Final Response
see attachment or go to case link for letter sent to consumer

04/26/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
A.J. Michaels refused to add freon to my outdoor unit that was a bit low on it. They basically took their $99 service fee and ran with it.
On 4/10/13 a service tech from A.J. Michaels came out to my home to evaluate what I had described to them as an outdoor unit low on refrigerant. When I initially called them on the phone regarding charges to come out, they stated it would be $99, and then whatever the cost of parts/labor were to fix the problem. No one on their end mentioned any "limitation" to what they could or would fix on an older unit. Freon replacement is a standard practice and basically the same process on any unit, regardless of its age. The tech who arrived greeted my wife, and spent all of about 10 minutes total at my house, before declaring to my wife (and me over the phone) that my AC unit (which was working just perfectly fine other than the lack of coolant) was too old for them to service. I asked them what my options were. The ONLY option given to me was to replace the unit. They claimed in order to add freon they'd have to run multiple leak tests which would cost me close to $1000. This is absolutely ludicrous. I had my wife pay them the $99 (which in hindsight I should have refused) and later that evening I called another HVAC company. (both licensed and insured) The gentleman who came out inspected the outdoor unit, and told me he was "shocked" that the man from A.J. Michaels told me that the unit was completely out of freon. He said "it looks like the nozzle wasn't even removed, to check." He said it appeared that the box was not even opened. He was able to easily replace my freon, found no obvious leaks on the unit, and charged me a very reasonable price to do all of this. The unit now works great, and there is no issue. I am typically not the sort of customer who gets very angry or files complaints such as this, but I was so disgusted from the horrible service that I was provided by A.J. Michaels, and the resulting talk I had with one of their managers, that I felt this was my only option. I would like to be refunded my $99 that they charged me for basically doing nothing. I honestly feel like I was robbed, like someone went into my back pocket, took $100 from me, and offered nothing in return. The money is not the only issue, however. For me, it is more the principal of the matter here. A company the size of A.J. Michaels could easily have offered to refund their $99 service fee to keep a repeat customer happy, (yes, I have done business with them in the past) but offered no such thing. If nothing can be done to resolve this matter, I would not hesitate to spread the word of their poor quality of customer service, and refusal to fix a simple problem very common to HVAC units. It would seem to me that this company is only concerned with "high dollar" fixes or complete replacements of older units (even when the older units are performing just fine) and then uses false regulations or "policies" to cover this up, and to make a higher sale from unsuspecting customers.

I truly feel like I was robbed of $99 and offered literally nothing in return for it. 5 minutes of a techs time, to tell me he basically cannot do anything is not only completely absurd, but extremely unethical and one of the poorest excuses for customer service that I have seen in quite some time.

Desired Settlement
If A.J. Michaels would refund their $99 service charge fee, while I would still be upset, it would at least show me that they care about their service and customers, and I could put this to rest. Regardless, they left such a bad taste in my mouth, I cannot honestly refer them to anyone I know.

Business' Initial Response
We went to the customers' home for a "no cooling" call, which was quoted as a 99.00 evaluation fee. We arrived to the cusotmers' home, evaluated the 30 year old Heat pump and determined the unit was completely void of refrigerant. Void means no refrigerant at all. At this pont we have evaluated the "no cooling" call as a major loss of refrigerant.

R-22 refrigerant costs are extremely high!!!

- It would be unprofessional to add refrigerant to a system that has lossed all of it's refrigerant with knowing it has a substantial leak. (I could see this being a complaint if we charged up the system and it would only last a month, I guess in this customers' eyes were damned either way)

- We hold CFC certifications, laws allow us to add up to 30% of the refrigerant charge annually without a repair. This system being void of refrigerant requires a full charge and a repair. So the customer wants us to violate the industry standard set for us to maintain our license. We also don't like paying the fines that can be imposed upon us! The automotive industry requires the same guidelines and requirements. Try getting an Auto shop to recharge a system in a car without a repair.

- We also understand from Mr. ******* that a friends' friend came out and charged the system. I'm sure the refrigerant has been leaking out since! I would like to know the name of the person or Company willing to do this, perhaps they have an EPA waiver that we don't have!

- We have excellent customer service, I'm sorry he did not like the result or the future investment required at his home.

- I would still suggest to the customer not to put anymore money into his 30 year old Heat Pump. It has doubled it's life expectancy already.

- I cannot authorize a refund for I see no errors, unprofessional actions, misleading info, or poor customer service.

Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
While I do not accept the response from this business as being 100% accurate, I will allow the BBB to close this case due the the fact that despite the above statements, they have indeed sent me out a refund check for the $99.

I will not reveal the name of the HVAC professional who came out to resolve my issue,(because it is none of ** ******'s business) but I will have you know that they are fully licensed and insured and also a major competitor of yours. Despite what you claim, the unit was not completely void (empty) of refrigerant, in fact, as I mentioned earlier, the business who fixed the problem told me it looked like the ** ******'s tech didn't even remove the nozzle from it to be able to tell how much refrigerant (if any) was left.

It's very easy for a company to tell a customer to just "replace their entire system" instead of fixing the one they have. Regardless of the age of my unit, it is/was working quite well, despite lacking some freon. In these times, not everyone is going to have the money to blow on a brand new unit, and they need to understand that, and present the customer with options other than "Replace the unit."

There is also quite a difference between saying you have "excellent customer service" and proving it through your actions. I have been in customer service my entire professional career, so I know a thing or two about it.

As I mentioned earlier, while I am not completely satisfied at their response, they did indeed send me out a refund check for the $99, so this case can be closed by the BBB. I'm not going to say I'm happy about all of this, but the company did do the right thing by reimbursing me. For that I am grateful.

03/30/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Bad practice
We had two radiators that suffered cracks over the winter. One was the actual radiator and the other was the pipe connecting the radiator.
Spent two days removing ceiling area's so the plumber could gain immediate access to assess.
Company charged $80 just to walk in front door. Advised work could not be done that day.
Left note advising a pipe had already been prepared to re install into our water main.
Again, work had already been done to prepare pipe to install.
The final bill was nearly $800 to solder one copper pipe in place and cap an existing pipe under the kitchen sink.
Customer service advised it takes three hours to solder one copper pipe.
So essentially we have been charged $580 an hour labor.


Desired Settlement
Facilities crews advised me it was a ten minute procedure. So what happened in three hours.

Business Response
Here is the procession of events that occurred for this service call. Our Mechanic's name is *****, to avoid confusion with the *****'s involved I will refer to him as our Mechanic

- We arrived at customers' home, Yes, there was a key in the mailbox. However, there was not a letter or note. The key was in an envelope and that was it. Our Mechanic had to call the customer and wait for his call back to confirm all issues.

IMPORTANT FACT: Our Mechanic had to make three to four calls to customer during the course of this service call, for each call our Mechanic had to wait for the customer to call back. If the customer was home, these conversations would be instant rather then drawn out and time consuming.

- The customer had cut out a section of the water main as stated to obtain water. We replaced this section and installed new valves.

- Our Mechanic knowing from the phone conversation with the customer that there were cracked radiators, our Mechanic concerned with the age of the existing heating system feed valve then replaced this valve to insure 100% water shut off to avoid heating system leaks once the water is turned back on to the house.

- Our Mechanic then proceeded to turn the main water back on to the house. The existing house piping has some original galvinized piping remaining in the system. When the water was turned back on, our Mechanic had to clean the faucet aerators of debris from the galvinized piping. He also had to purge out the air and confirm the toilet is clear and will shut off. This is being a responsible, thorough plumber.

- Now that the water is on, we cannot simply leave the house. At this point, we are already far beyond the "ten minute repair". Fortunately for the customer we were thorough. There was another leak under the kitchen sink on the dual stop valve that feeds the supply line through the cabinet to the dishwasher. Our Mechanic had to call the customer and see if he wanted to have this replaced or just capped off. Once the customer called our Mechanic back he was told to cap off the line, so he did.

- The capping off of the line meant to shut down the water again. So the same procedure of clearing and purging out of the water lines were followed by our Mechanic again.

- Our Mechanic again won't just leave without a full visual and sound inspection of piping to insure no property is at risk from further damage.

- Our Mechanic communicated with the Customer that an estimator will be scheduled to meet him to go over the options and costs of replacement radiators. (cast iron radiators are expensive and not kept as inventory on our trucks or warehouse, we do keep used radiators but only a few at our shop)

- The Customer was charged 586.00 for this call that carried a 18.12 credit card fee.

Trip charge.................79.00
3.5 hours @ 136.00/hr......476.00
Parts.......................31.00
3% Credit Card fee..........18.12

Total......................604.12

- I fail to see any "bad practice" by our Company in serving the customers' needs. On the contrary, I see a very responsible company providing proper service for their customer.

Good Faith offer: I would be willing to waive the trip charge fee of 79.00 and credit the customer back 81.37.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
So let me get this straight.
It now took two mechanics 3.5 hours (not 3 hours) - to solder two copper pipes. Ok.
The simple lesson here is not being home to watch all this happen.
Other customers reading this are saying we should have known better- and yes we messed up by not being home and now paid the price.
Please keep the refund. We'll settle as a tort complaint.



Final Business Response
Again, the soldering of pipes was not the only service provided here. Please re-read our first response so the job is not minimized.

I completely agree with the customer, he should've been there. It clearly could've saved him billable time if he was readily available for our crews and the questions that arose. He could've also paid with a check or cash saving an additional $18.12 bringing his bill down to $586.00.

Also, has the initial complaint against us been corrected for accuracy? He stated we charged him close to $800.00 - false, that he left a note with the keys - no notes were present, and we only soldered two joints - false.

Hypothetical scenario: Who would've been responsible for water damage to the home if our crew didn't take the TIME to find the dishwasher supply line leak?, or have the foresight to replace the feed valve to the heating system to insure no water would pass into the already damaged heating system?

Scenario answer: I'm certain the customer would hold A.J. Michaels liable for all damages..... We as a Company will continue to be responsible and not hurry out of any home recklessly. Especially a home that is 40 degrees inside.

Special Note: We had left two messages for the customer after he was unhappy with the charge. He chose not to repond back to us. We were willing to explain the whole process that occurred and why the cost of the repair is justified. Again, in good faith we would've been and are still willing to discount.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I want the complaint closed. You took advantage of the situation. If any reasonable customer reading this took 3-4 hours to complete a 10 minute task at their place of work - they would surely be fired. Keep the money. You clearly earned every penny.

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