Well, it is Friday and time for another story time with Grayson. So, sit back, grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and let me tell you a new tale. If you are a long time reader, then you know my luck with companies. I have talked about getting bamboozled by a door-to-door salesman, screwed by an A/C repair company, and lied to by Empire Today. These are just the ones that I have written about. So, it should be no surprise that it happened again.
The Back Story
I have spoken back in July that my A/C was on the fritz. It finally went out in August. I was able to get it to start once a day when we needed to cool down the house. I had to go in the attic and manually start the blower fan with a stick. I have to thank the internet for that little tip!
Once Fall hit, we didn’t have to use our A/C for anything and it was kind of nice. Unfortunately for us, we have a single A/C and Heating unit that uses the same blower fan. So, if the A/C doesn’t work, neither does the heat. While my wife and I could last many more weeks with the current temperatures, my son cannot. He is only ten months old and I am not even going to try. So, getting the A/C unit fixed became a priority.
I have had three repairmen come out to attempt to fix the unit. They started with the lower priced items first and then worked up to higher priced fixes. After all failures, it was determined that my blower motor bit the dust. What really sucks is that the same motor died two years prior and there was only a one year warranty on the product. Damn!
Since I knew exactly the part I needed, I called my go-to repair company and asked them to replace the blower motor. They came out the next day and checked to make sure it was in fact the motor. After agreeing that it was, the repairman went to the part store to pick up the motor.
He was back to the house in about 20 minutes with the motor in hand. The installation took him about 15 minutes and then we had working heat. I was happy that we did, because it was going to be in the low 30′s that night. The house would have been too cold for my son and that was not an option.
The Head Scratcher
As the repairman was putting in the blower motor, I took some time to pull up my email from two years prior. I had the price quote for the same service that was done by the same company. I just wanted to use that quote as a baseline. It makes it much easier to be prepared when you get the quote.
After the install was complete, the repairman went to his van to put together the invoice. This company calls their manager to get all of the pricing for the services, so the repair people don’t come up with the pricing. They just tell their manager what service was done.
He came back into the house with the news.
The repair job was going to cost me $1170!
I was a little astonished. I am sure you want to know why. Two years prior, the same exact service cost me $850. Now, I am confused.
Do Companies Think I Am Stupid?
I just don’t get it. Why do companies think they can pull crap like this? I am not an uneducated consumer. In fact, more and more consumers are getting educated on the products and services they want to purchase. That is the power of the internet and social media. There is more information at our fingertips than ever and we can use it to our advantage.
With regards to my current A/C repair, I don’t get why they can justify a close to $300 increase in two years. So, I decided to ask the repairman.
He told me that he doesn’t come up with the prices, but he gave me his manager’s direct phone number. You can be your ass that I called!
I spoke politely to the manager about my concern with the price. I told him that I had received the same service two years prior and paid $850, but now he wanted to charge me $1170.
While we were talking on the phone, I was able to find pricing for the blower motor online. I love the power of the internet and since I am around computers all day long, I have no problem finding the information that I need.
The manager told me that the price increased because manufacturer price increases, a warranty, and gas prices. Wait, did he just say GAS PRICES?
What….the…..hell? Are you really going to blame a $300 price increase on gas prices? I had to break the news to him that gas is actually cheaper now than it was the same time in 2011. I looked it up and it made him go “uh, oh….ok”. Yeah, that is what I thought.
Now, onto the warranty. The sad thing is that I had a warranty on the service and product from two years ago. It was only good for one year. He was offering me the same thing, but it was $175. So, if I had one last time, then the one this time shouldn’t add to the price.
Armed With Information
You can see now that I was armed with enough information to make this negotiation go into my favor. It just didn’t make any sense for the increase. I did give them the manufacturer price increase because that makes sense. Many of the A/C part manufacturers like to do annual price increase on their parts. Just padding the pockets.
Even armed with the information that I had, the manager was battling with me. Then I had to pull out the big guns. Here it goes.
I am not happy with the price increase and how you aren’t explaining it to me. Since you are not taking care of my problem, I am just going to reach out to the general manager. I play hockey with him every Sunday and he helped me out last time.
Yep, I pulled out that card.
I have known the general manager for the service company for years. He has always made sure I was taken care of. I don’t like to bring him into things like this because he is very busy. I thought I had enough ammunition for the current battle, but I was wrong. That is why I ended up pulling out my secret weapon. Well, when the manager on the phone heard about this, he was super quick to change his tune.
Quickly, my bill went from $1170 back down to $900. This was a price that I was going to accept. I gave them the $50 due to the price increase on the parts and for just general inflation. It amazed me how quickly the tone of the conversation changed. I was happy that my price was back down to an acceptable range (though $900 is not anything to be happy with, but I was prepared for it).
I am still upset to this day that companies continue to try and take advantage of me. I will try my hardest to give a company the chance to make the right impression. I don’t like giving companies other chances. It amazes me that they think I am that stupid that I can’t do research and understand what is going on. The sad thing is that they get away with this crap on a daily basis. They come across someone that is desperate to what the company is selling and then they take advantage of them in order to increase profits. It really turns me red.
To all companies out there: We are not stupid consumers. In fact, we are holding all the information we need in our hand. If you don’t change the way you treat customers, then you will become obsolete. It is the companies that treat their customers with respect and do what is right that will be rewarded in the end.
So, when was the last time you were getting the shaft from a company? Is there any excuse for these companies to treat their customers like they are stupid?
Note: I will still be using this repair company because my friend, the general manager, took care of everything and made sure it wouldn’t happen again. I appreciate him making things right.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net