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Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 30/06/2004

Ottawa Home Services

Phone: (613) 829-9700Fax: (613) 726-7555

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Customer Complaints Summary

4 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 2 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Billing / Collection Issues1
Problems with Product / Service3
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints4

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (4)
07/12/2016Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details

Unqualified repair staff. Incapable of basic furnace diagnosis. Failed to call back re complaint.
I scheduled a visit to have a service person look at my furnace and ac unit because the AC would not come on. The technician looked at furnace+ac unit, expressed some uncertainty as too the nature of the problem, then ultimately concluded the furnace controller (circuit board) was bad and gave me a $600 repair quote. The next day I got a call from a sales person who added replacement of the entire furnace as an option. I have a technical education and have no problem understand technical drawing, electrical schematics, etc, so I decided to investigate myself. I studied some furnace schematics that I found online and reviewed basic furnace operation and compared those to the symptoms I was experiencing and that the Ottawa Home Services technician witnessed. I concluded that the problem was likely caused by a "open limit switch" simply be studying diagnostic information I found online. I took at the furnace myself and indeed, the "high temperature limit switch" had been tripped at some point in the past. This sensor has a manual reset button. I pressed the sensors reset button to and problem was resolved. This reset switch is in plain view when the furnace cover is removed. It is very accessible, and not at all obscure. I should add that when I spoke to the technician I went as far a suggest that the problem was an issue with a sensor an that the furnace controller had put itself into some sort of safety mode - which turned out to be exactly the case. In my opinion technician that was sent by Ottawa Home Services was not qualified to do his job if he was not able to diagnose such a simple problem. Further, safe and proper diagnosis of this problem should include a discussion with the furnace owner as to the possible reasons why the high temperature limit switch was tripped because it may be a safety concern since it indicates the furnace was operating at an unsafe high temperate state at some point in the recent past. Putting aside the aggravating nature of the unnecessary $600 repair quote, and the quick offer to consider purchase of new furnace aside, the main and deeper consumer concern here is that the company did not send out qualified staff on this service call - it appears. I called the company to discuss this and spoke with woman named "Stephanie" who assured me I would receive a call, or email, back the same day. There was no call back or email. The company has made no effort to address the concern I have voiced. It is very rare for me to have an issue with a company I have done business with. Usually will just put it behind and leave it alone. This is the first time I have contacted the BBB. I feel it is warranted in this case in order warn other consumers. I will add that I had an AC unit installed by this company in 2011 and that experience was fine. This service call was my second experience with this company. It seems doubtful that I will have a third.

Desired Settlement
Refund the 98 dollar service call fee because the service that was rendered was very, very, far from adequate.

Business Response
We will stand by our satisfaction guarantee and will issue a refund of the diagnostic for this case. This is a reasonable misdiagnosis for the specific furnace model which does not provide the appropriate fault codes. It is still the case that all indications pointed to a faulty board. Something caused the trip in the first place and this costumer will likely continue to have issues.

Our technicians are licensed and qualified. Something did cause the tripping which remains unresolved.

We are investigating internally how our escalation process did not happen in this case and the customer was not contacted as requested. We have customer service protocols in place that were not followed and are taking steps to ensure that does not happen again.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
Yes, accepted, and thank-you. I would have no issue if I had been contacted since I understand, however frustrating, the fact that mistakes happen. They have to be dealt with, however. I don't agree that this is a reasonable misdiagnosis and it certainly wasn't dealt with professionally by the company. Unprofessional on two counts, IMO. If the circuit board had a fault indicator I would have just looked at it myself to get a clue what was going on (I actually looked for an indicator myself before making the original service call. They absence of an indicator is why someone had to *diagnose* the problem in first place!). . Thirty to sixty minutes on-site is more than enough time to figure it out. And yes - I agree the furnace needs to be looked at to determine if the open limit switch is symptom of a larger issue. I had already figured out that much myself.

11/05/2015Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

company over charged me for work done. did not give me any details of costs on service order as requested.
company lied on service order. claimed job would take 1.5 hours and only took 40 minutes.they didnt give me any detail how much I was being charged for labour. I asked for part number and cost of part on service order. was not given. any detail on service order. cost of part? cost of labour? tax? none of these questions answered by company. just a bill for $1,264.00 for 40 minutes of work. Part should be around 400.00 so I was charged over 700 hundred dollars for 40 minutes of work.I know people that workin the field and they said this price is insane.

Desired Settlement
I requested details of the job. price of labour for 40 minutes price of part and part number. tax.
so i want that in writing from the company. I also want a refund of $400.00 that I was overcharged for labour.

Business Response
We used a flat rate pricing system which was explained to this customer upfront and he signed and approved all work each step of the way before we did any work full knowing the price quoted was flat rated, not time and materials. We did not bill using time and materials. This has been explained several times. There is no complaint of work. This customer simply does not want to pay the bill for work that was quoted and approved by him in advance. We can provide scanned copies of the paperwork that clearly shows the work was quoted as a flat rate amount and he provided his signature as approval for us to commence and complete work.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I did agree on the price. I was told the job would take 1.5 hours to install the part. it took 40 minutes. I was also under the impression I would receive a final bill with the following information.
-the part number and the price
-the tax I was charged
I dont understand why this information is being withheld.I have no idea how they came up with the final price of 1264 dollars.
Im not interested now in any cash back. I just wanted the information that was promised me.I have never received a bill from a company that shows no detail. Every person that I have spoken to about this thinks that this is not acceptable. why is this company allowed to do this?can someone explain this to me? if you get an oil change on your car they break down the charges and show you the tax.

Final Business Response
We cannot provide a breakdown of parts and labour costs from a flat rated quote. We did not indicate any further breakdown would be provided. The customer was aware no final bill would come as he provided his billing information and signature on the same forms used to quote and collect payment for the repair. The quote was a guaranteed price regardless of how long the repair would take. The customer could have stopped at any point and gotten a quote from another company if they had a concern about our flat rate pricing BEFORE providing the go-ahead for us to perform the work. Of note, we installed this customer's furnace back in 2008 based on a flat rated quote (no breakdown of time and materials). This is a standard business practise.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
I'm switching to another company. take the payment, it's not worth my time fighting this.

11/03/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details

1. Sales person sold me a new thermostat which I later found I did not need
2. Installer left with my two year old thermostat without my authorizatio
Sales person sold me a new furnace along with a new $270 thermostat. Told me the new thermostat was needed to get full functionality of the new furnace.
The day the furnace and new thermostat were installed, the installer left with my 2 year old thermostat without authorization.
I contacted the salesperson to let him know. Eleven days went by without any resolution. Was eventually told that the installer had 'disposed of it' and was not offered anything. ********************************, was later contacted by the co-owner who offered a $100 credit or another thermostat. I replied that the only sensible solution was a reimbursement of the value of my two year old thermostat which he seemed to value at $100. The credit is of no value to me as I do not need another furnace nor an AC. I also have a contract for the maintenance of these items and it cannot be terminated ( I tried). I went on to add that I could ask a lot more than the $100 value identified by the owner as I have learned from the manufacturer that my 2 year old thermostat would have worked just fine with the new furnace, the only difference being the sequence of operation. Had the salesperson been that clear, I would not have purchased the $270 plus tx new thermostat. My reply was sent three days ago and I have not heard back from the company.

Desired Settlement
Even though I could ask for the reimbursement of the new thermostat, I've decided instead to limit my request to the reimbursement of the value of my previous thermostat: $100.

01/12/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details

The Company misdiagnosed my furnace problem and sent me to collection even if NO service was provided.
Last winter, November 29 2013, my furnace started acting up; some times it runs and then it quits. I then contacted ********************** as they did some work for my business a while back. The tech came to my house ****************************, and when my wife took him to the furnace room, the furnace had already come on and working; then the tech checked the filter, and he told her the issue was just a dirty filter and she should just get a filer and change it.

When I cam home the next day, i went to ********** and got a new filter and changed it but same problem; the furnace went down again. I then contacted another tech to find out why my furnace was quitting on me randomly. As soon as the tech opened the panel to check the board and the wires, he immediately found a burnt wire going from one terminal to another terminal. That was it, he changed the piece wire with another wire, and I haven't had any problem since then.

Finally, NOT only they didn't misdiagnose my problem, a couple of weeks later I got a phone call to pay my bill. I told the lady the situation, and how my house could have burnt down to the ground if that burnt wire started a fire. She wouldn't listen to me, and I asked to speak to the owner ***********************, I was told he was not available. I left my Cell #, I haven't heard from him at all. Now, to make things worse, I got a collection letter yesterday from a Collection agency for $169.13 Not only they lack the necessary skills, they totally lack any kind of customer service. I want the company to contact the collection agency and remove the amount, and make sure that my Credit rating is not affected.

Thank you for your help.

I can be contacted at ************ or via email ********************

Desired Settlement
I want ******************** to immediately contact the collection agency, and remove the $169.13 from the account and also make sure that my excellent credit rating is not affected.

Thank you

Business Response
Here is the response given to the customer on February 10,2014. Our position remains the same and we continue to expect payment for services rendered.

"The diagnostic call on November 29th was not misdiagnosed. The technician found that your furnace was going off on limit due to a plugged filter. This is a legitimate diagnostic. A burnt wire was most likely due to the overheating related to the furnace going off on limit which, again, was due to the plugged filter. Our technician may not have seen the actual burnt wire as he was focused on the actual problem - the plugged filter.

An intermittent problem with a furnace can be difficult to diagnose if the actual problem is not occurring when the technician attends and so we sometimes do suggest to schedule the call for exactly when the problem is occurring. This is to save customers time and money as each diagnostic call is chargeable when there is no warranty unless we can determine we missed something the first time around. We do it this way as a service to customers and this may not have been explained properly to you. I do show record of having work pending to come back after December 2nd and waiting on a call from you to book this firm. Had we returned to site and found the burnt wire ourselves, we may have addressed it similarly and this call may not have been chargeable as it may have been deemed related to the first call.

When we did not hear back to attend again, we prepared the invoice from the first diagnostic call. ***** recalls the call in November as the technician called him from site to report that you were not prepared to pay for after-hours diagnostic call ********************************** ******* ********* You may choose to not to pay this invoice. We would not waive this charge, however, as we did come and perform a proper diagnostic."

It is also not our professional opinion that a burnt wire could have resulted in significant damage. There are many safeties built in to heating equipment to prevent such outcomes. For a technician to suggest that your house could have burnt down is not a statement we would support.

Consumer Response
-----Original Message-----
From: *************** *****************************
Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 9:21 AM
To: ****************
Subject: RE: (SPAM) Re: *********************************************************

Good Morning *******,

Thank you for sending me the response from **********************. As I expected, I got a typical answer from a business that doesn't care about its customers. Instead of admitting their misdiagnosis, they are still blaming the malfunction of the furnace on a filter that was a little dirty (while the issue was a burnt wire connecting 2 terminals. I am really disgusted by their answer ***************************************************************** ************************* ****************** ************** see a burnt wire. The only thing they can check is I guess the filter.

Thank You,


Final Business Response
December 19, 2014: We will remove this from collection if the outstanding bill is paid and we are prepared to waive the interest accrued on this bill. For your further information, and as discussed yesterday with a representative there, a plugged filter is most commonly a cause for a furnace tripping on limit, resulting in a no heat call. A clogged/dirty filter means that air will not pass through the furnace blower properly and heat from the heat exchanger will not be circulated. The heat exchanger will then get too hot. The limit switch will trip if this happens to prevent damage to the furnace. When a limit switch trips, the furnace will not heat. Our diagnostic was that the furnace was going off on limit due to a plugged filter. We attended the call and this was the diagnostic. This customer refused to pay the bill at that time ************ ***************************************************************** ********************* The technician called the service manager from site who sent the technician back to try and collect payment. There was then no answer at the door. The customer did not call us back after the initial diagnostic as he was aware it would be a billable call. He went to another service provider after having changed the filter and was given a new diagnostic reason related to a burnt wire. We work with our customers and honour our diagnostic. Had he called us back, he would have been charged for the new repair but not a second diagnostic. It remains that we did perform a service and should be entitled to collect payment for services rendered.

Industry Comparison| Chart

Heating & Air Conditioning, Furnace Cleaning, Furnace Sales & Service, Furnaces - Industrial, Boilers - Sales & Service, Boilers - Rental, Heating Equipment & Systems Cleaning & Repair, Air Conditioning Systems - Cleaning, Air Conditioning Repair, Water Heater - Tankless, Water Heaters - Dealers, Heating & Air Conditioning - Filters, Air conditioning & Heating Contractors - Commercial, Air conditioning & Heating Contractors - Residential, Water Heaters - Repairing, Heating Contractors, Heat Pumps, Boilers - Repair & Cleaning, Air Conditioning Contractors & Systems

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