I was forced to use Arctic Air by the home warranty company. Arctic Air fabricated additional repairs and demanded more money.
I placed a claim with my home warranty and they sent Arctic Air to fix my HVAC. The repair man simply stated I needed a new coil and may have a small expense for added freon depending upon what the warranty would pay. I paid him $60 and he said he would turn the order into the office. The next day **** ******** called and stated I needed a new coil, major modification to allow the coil to fit, a spill safety swtich, a new vent pipe and a new hard pipe and drop leg. None of this was mentioned by the repair man initially and I even asked him if the coil was all I needed. **** said it would cost me $700 out of pocket on top of what warranty would pay. **** then went on to say I could "upgrade" to a "rifle quality metal" coil for another $525. He recommended I upgrade because the cheaper "generic" metal would only last one year whereas the better metal would last 10 years.
I called another plumber for a second opinion. The second plumber came out and said **** was out and out lying and trying to extort more money from me. While he was standing in my garage, the plumber called the manufacturer for the new metal coil. They told him there is only one coil made for my unit. They said it fits without any modification. He asked if there was a better quality metal coil and the manufacturer stated there is no such thing.
I called **** and asked him to send me what he told me in writing. He then started to change his story and say the second coil was a "dual refrigerant coil". He also said the repair man observed the vent pipe was bad, even though on the phone he told me the vent pipe "could maybe" be bad causing the spill switch to not operate properly.
It is obvious they are trying to extort more money from me and these extra repairs are a complete fabrication. Upon my further review of this company I have found that this is a common theme with them as most people are ignorant when it comes to their HVAC systems.
I would like a refund of the $60 I have already paid them as well as them to be investigated for these actions. If they are comfortable doing this to a customer they know to be a Lubbock Police Officer, I am certain they are far more comfortable trying to extort money from other citizens.
Responses for the Better Business Bureau by **** ********* Arctic Air, in relation to the Mr. ***** complaint:
Response to Mr. *****'s comment about fabricating repairs:
When dealing with a home warranty company, the warranty company determines what portion of the repairs they pay for and what portion is the responsibility of the home owner. The home warranty company does not pay for duct modifications on his policy. It is up to our company to relay this information to the customer. Newer policies no longer pay for the old style Freon (r-22); therefore, the bulk of the cost is going to the homeowner. This is, again, the home warranty company's policy, not Arctic Air's policy.
Response to the spill switch:
I informed Mr. ***** that his spill switch had been bypassed to make his furnace run, and that our determination is that it was done because the vent pipe was bad or blocked. The purpose of the spill switch is to prevent back drafting from a blocked or damaged vent. Unfortunately, our service technician did not write this on Mr. *****'s invoice since he was there for an a/c call. Because the technician did not write this down, I explained it to Mr. *****. When speaking with Mr. ***** on the phone, I even had him go over to his furnace and pull off the top door panel. I then explained where the spill switch was located. Mr. ***** then stated he did see where the wires had been taken off and had a wire nut put on them. I told him the warranty company will not pay to replace his vent pipe. Home warranty companies do not ever pay for vent pipes on any of their policies. I then told Mr. ***** that we cannot do a major repair, and just leave that like it was because if something did happen, and we were the last company out, we could be found responsible for leaving it in that condition; and even be sued if something occurred. I also stated to Mr. ***** that since this is a major safety switch, I was certain he would want it fixed so it would be safe, and he agreed. I also told him we would replace the spill switch at no cost to him when replacing the vent pipe, just so it was new also. There was also a large piece of paper taped to the door of his furnace that said: "If furnace stops push the red button to restart." The button that is being referred to is another safety switch called a roll out switch. This indicates that this
furnace has had problems. We were trying to make it safe for him and his family.
Response to the allegation of statement that the coil would only last one year:
Never did I state to Mr. ***** that a generic coil would only last one year. I did tell him it had only a one year warranty on it; and that high end coils have a ten year warranty, but were more expensive and the warranty company will not pay the extra for the higher-priced coil. I also explained to Mr. ***** that if, in fact, he chose the high-end coil, he could pay the difference of $525 for it knowing it had a ten year warranty, and that this coil could use both the new and old Freon.
Response to the allegation of lying, made by another contractor:
Mr. ***** stated that he called another company to come out. Once there, Mr. ***** stated that the technician called the manufacturer of Mr. *****'s brand name coil, and was told that it was the same one and did not require duct modification. However, the warranty company does not pay for the name brand coil--just a generic coil. The dimensions are not the same for a name brand coil and a generic coil, which require a change to the entire coil box, and therefore required duct modifications. Arctic's employees were not lying. Instead, they tried explaining to Mr. ***** that the warranty company would not pay to replace that exact coil, only a generic coil.
Response to the allegation of Arctic trying to extort money out of him:
It is very interesting that Mr. ***** used the word extort to describe our company. According to Google's Online Dictionary, the meaning of extort is: a. to wrest or wring (money, information, etc.) from a person by violence, intimidation, or abuse of authority; obtain by force, torture, threat, or the like. b. to take illegally by reason of one's office.
From the onset of dealing with Mr. *****, he let us know he was a Lubbock City police officer. He continued to highlight his position as a police officer through his email communications with Arctic. He sent emails on his official police departmental letterhead from the City of Lubbock, through the City of Lubbock email system, and signed as 'Sergeant *****, Lubbock Police Department.' After he stopped payment on his check, he came to Arctic's office in a city police car (while off duty), came into the office, and tried to intimidate the secretary. He did not pull in the parking lot and park with the other cars, but rather parked right outside our front gate as though he was responding to a call. It is the opinion of Arctic that Mr. ***** was the one using extortion. As evidenced by the complaint filed by Mr. *****, he could not even file his report of the incident without mentioning that he was a Lubbock city police officer. If anyone is extorting anyone it would be Mr. *****, and not Arctic Air. If he so enthusiastically made known his occupation in his report to the BBB, one can only imagine the degree to which his "abuse of authority" was revealed to the employees of Arctic Air.
Response to statement that coils are not of different quality, but all the same:
There are a plethora of coil manufacturers, all with coils of differing price, quality, warranty, and type of Freon capabilities. To say there is only one kind of coil is ludicrous as in most all products manufactured one can find different prices and quality from different manufacturers.
Response to Mr. *****'s accusation of Arctic having a common theme of extortion:
Arctic Air just won the Best of Lubbock for the 3rd time in 4 years. Arctic has come to the realization that most customers with a home owners' warranty are under the misconception that the company that is called out by the warranty company is the warranty company. In reality, the company called out by the warranty company is a contractor hired by the warranty company to do the repair work. The warranty company dictates to the contracted company what, and how much the customer will be responsible for. Unfortunately, the customer most always believes that the home warranty company will pay for everything. When the customer realizes that in fact is not the case, the customer often becomes frustrated with the contracted company-not the home warranty company. If Mr. ***** had called Arctic on his own, outside of the warranty company, and asked for a price to replace his coil, Arctic would have quoted a total price for the job; and Mr. ***** would say whether or not to complete the job. There would not have been any discussion as to the details of how that price was obtained. Arctic would have told him at that time about the vent pipe and included it in the job quote. Mr. ***** could have then said yes or no to the job. However, since Mr. ***** has a home warranty, it seems he was looking for someone to blame once he found out he would be "out of pocket." His complaint should be with his home warranty company, not Arctic. Furthermore, if another A/C company has the opportunity to throw Arctic "under the bus", they often do so, trying to get the work themselves.
Response to the request for refund:
The service fee of $60.00 was due upon arrival, and was for diagnosis of the problem. Not only did the Arctic technician diagnose the problem, but Mr. ***** did use the said diagnosis to collect money from the warranty company, which was to buy a new coil. Without this diagnosis, Mr. ***** could not have collected. Arctic did send Mr. *****'s "stop-pay" check to the District Attorney's office for assistance in collection. It is the understanding of Arctic that Mr. ***** did meet with ***** at the District Attorney's office, and the result of that appointment was that Mr. ***** did pay ***** the amount of the check in full after explaining his side of the story to *****. That in itself speaks volumes. In short, Mr. ***** made his case to the DA's hot check office. The charge was found by the District Attorney's office to be valid and due. Mr. ***** fulfilled his obligation of the business agreement entered into when Arctic responded to the call to his home.
Response to Arctic Air needing investigated:
I think the facts speak for themselves. Here is an off duty police officer using the city of Lubbock's e-mail server to conduct personal business as well as a city of Lubbock marked police car to come to our office to try and intimidate us after he stopped payment on a check that we sent to the district attorney's office for collection. If anything needs investigated I believe this does.