They delivered a massive exaggeration of cost regarding repairing my central air unit, capitalizing on my ignorance of any HVAC knowledge.
I'll simply tell my story and let you infer from it what you will.
We have a central air unit from 2014, and it was not blowing enough cold air. On May 31 2016 We called these guys as we have a furnace from them. They arrived on June 3 2016, and the technician (I cannot read his name on the paperwork left behind) assessed the situation as such: I was at 50% coolant level thanks to a leak due to faulty valves. The technician went on to explain that these valves would have to be special ordered; the unit would have to be drained of all coolant to replace the valves, and then re-filled taking approximately 3.5 hours. This was going to cost us approximately $960 plus HST (including service call).
After he left I was reeling, so I rifled through the paperwork that the previous homeowner left with us and found the name of the service technician who installed the unit for them two years prior.
He came out, assessed the problem as exactly the same - faulty valves causing a leak in coolant. He explained he'd be able to change the valves and recharge the unit in about 10 minutes but it would cost me $100. These 'special order' valves are universal (same item you find in, say, a bicycle tire). No need to 'drain' the unit as he had what he referred to as a 'common' tool that allowed him to change the valves out with coolant in the system no problem.
Now we're stuck paying for a service call ($99) to a company that clearly tried to take advantage of us. A lot of advantage of us.
I don't think we should have to pay for the service call for two reasons: one, the company owes us for a service call they never credited when they installed our furnace. Secondly, and most importantly, there was malicious intent behind the service technician's operation in our house (no true intent to perform reasonable and required service, instead to get as much cash out of someone who was at a situational disadvantage as possible).
Let me start by saying this is a valid complaint. It stems from my technician not specifying (in writing) what he diagnosed, how he diagnosed it and an explanation of the work and parts required to repair the system properly.
The customer would not know that the quick repair that was done by his technician friend from work was not the same repair that was diagnosed by my technician.
Giving detailed descriptions has since been addressed with all of my technicians.
We have a made several attempts to come to a resolution in this matter. We have offered to send another technician or another company of his choice (at our expense) to give a second opinion, we offered to contact the manufacture to see if there is any remaining warranty, and we have mailed back the full amount that he was charged for the diagnostic call.
While frustrating, this complaint will be used as a technician-training tool to ensure this will not happen in the future so we can continue to provide the excellent customer service that our many customers have come to expect and deserve.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
To their credit, the business did offer to not charge me their $99 service charge, in exchange for withdrawing the complaint. In fact, I just got a refund cheque in the mail.
However, after thinking upon it, I believe my complaint is valid and would rather leave the complaint to be registered against them. I Feel I was wronged and would like to warn others.
When contacted by them, I was told basically that their tech diagnosed a 'different' set of 'valves' than my tech did. There are apparently three sets of valves on a central air unit and my tech replaced one set (the name of which escapes me, but are akin to tire valves). Supposedly it's my SERVICE valves that are defective. The paperwork left behind by this business only said 'valves,' however, and the technician never explained 'service valves' in any way, shape or form to me as the representative from 21 Degrees currently was, so I had a hard time believing this. This business offered to pay for a third party to come in and check my service valves, but that takes more time off of work, etc., and I have no reason to doubt my 2nd technician so I declined. I brought up and we did discuss the possibility that his technician was acting unscrupulously which he completely shut down more than once, explaining that he knew his tech to be a 'straight shooter.' I definitely admire his defending his employee, that's what a good manager does, but I sincerely think in this situation it's possibly unwarranted.
Basically, 21 Degrees' defense comes down to, "we diagnosed different 'valves' than your tech did."
On our initial phone call he agreed to speak with his tech and call me back.
In the interim, I called my tech again and explained that 21 Degrees said it was my SERVICE valves that were defective. He explained he had never seen them be defective before but would gladly come in and check them AGAIN as he had the first time. He checked them and assured me they were fine; I also did the 'soapy water' trick to find a leak and was unable to find anything. Keeping in mind, of course, if they were defective he stood to make more money off of me - a fact I made pointedly clear. He swore up and down they were fine. He did this all at no charge.
21 Degrees did contact me back and indicated that he spoke to his tech about being more specific on paperwork, and more thorough in explanation to customers in the future, but still insisted that it was service valves that were defective as per his technician's diagnosis. I didn't understand how they could quote me a price without even knowing how much the parts cost - he explained that apparently they have 'tiers' of service that they go by. A service valve replacement is Level 5 which costs what it costs no matter if it takes them ten minutes or ten hours.
I don't believe my service valves are defective. My unit is now working and only time will tell if ultimately I'm wrong, but I informed 21 Degrees I'd be leaving the complaint up as I feel it's warranted.
I'm still of the mindset that - perhaps not the company, but at least the service technician representing the company - ********************
Final Consumer Response