Another day of story time with Grayson! I wanted to share a little story about how a hot summer day, a broken A/C unit, and a company mixed to create a bad taste in my mouth. Like many, I am a big fan of quality customer service. I will give my business to any company that gives me a quality experience and service. If you screw me, then I will do what I can to tell my friends online and off as well as not use your business! So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and sit back to listen to my horrible day.
Oh, Summer Time
I don’t know if I have ever told you, but I am not a fan of summer. I run on the hot side, so in the summer time, it become unbearable. Summer is my least favorite season. I prefer spring and fall. I will even take winter over summer. One of my favorite inventions is the air conditioner. I don’t know how people live without it, but it is a necessity in our home. My wife is the same way as me, so we both love air conditioning. Even our son is very warm and sweats all of the time. The sound of the air conditioner running is very soothing in our home.
So, now that you understand my love for air conditioning, here comes my story. The summer time here in North Carolina gets hot. It is not the dry hot like Arizona or New Mexico, but it is just down right humid. It gets around 100 degrees and then it is so humid that you can’t even breathe outside. Boo!
On one of the hotter days in the depth of summer, our air conditioner decided to crap out. Oh great! Now it is going to be so hot and unbearable. Perfect. It was in the morning, so it wasn’t too bad, but I needed to get on the phone and call my regular company that services my unit. Well, they were all booked up dealing with the same issues that I was having. Crap…..
It was Friday morning, so if we didn’t get it fixed that day, I would need to wait until Monday morning until another technician could come. Instead of waiting, I decided to jump online and find another company. I called around a few and was only able to find one to come and diagnose the problem. Well, since that was my option, I took it.
Here comes the Boom!
The technician came pretty quickly, which was nice and I showed him where the AC unit was. I gave him a quick rundown of what I was experiencing and he went right to work. About 1o minutes later, he came down with the diagnosis. The blower was broken and no longer functioning. Of course, this was one of the more expensive parts that can be replaced. This was also the time when I didn’t have an emergency fund. I was working my way out of debt and didn’t think about the emergency fund. Oops…..
Now onto the damage. After some quick calculations, the technician said that it would cost me about $1,200 to get the blower and fix the unit. Damn! That is expensive. Out of my haste to get this issue fixed, I reluctantly agreed. The technician started to process the repair request and then went out to his van to check on the parts. He didn’t have the blower in his van, so he would have to go get it.
**Stupid Move Alert: I don’t know what I was thinking, but I paid for the whole shebang before he even completed the project. What in the hell was I thinking??
Luck would have it that the company didn’t have the blower in stock and wouldn’t be able to get it until Monday. Are you freaking kidding me? How does this happen to me? What did I do wrong to cause these things to happen?
I called my work and asked to work from home so I could be around when the technician came. So, my wife and I packed up our stuff and went over to my parents house for the weekend. It was a nice weekend, especially in the sweltering heat. Monday came around and I went back home. The original technician was supposed to come in the morning to install the blower.
My doorbell rang and I expected to see the man I saw on Friday, but it was a different technician. The new technician was very nice and courteous, so I didn’t have a problem with it. He took one look at the service papers and just had a blank look on his face. I immediately asked what was wrong.
Well, to my surprise, the technician looked at me and asked if the service was right because the price didn’t look right. Wait, What? This new technician was brutally honest, something that I really enjoy in people. I told him what I needed, so he decided to go diagnose AC unit again to make sure the right part was ordered. He spent 45 minutes checking the unit and asking me questions. How thorough!
New Price/Same Company
After talking with me (I am starting to get upset because I realize that I might have been taken) and with his manager, the technician questioned the price that I was quoted and charged. As he spoke with his manager to try to figure out the issue, I pulled open the blower box and found the part number. I jumped online and started looking for prices, but it was very difficult since it wasn’t a consumer product. With my investigation skills, I actually found the distributor for the company that I was using.
I grabbed their phone number and gave them a call for a price quote. They asked for my federal id #, but I just wanted to ballpark the number. I asked for a price as if they were going to sell it to a consumer. They quoted me $575 for the blower. NOW I AM PISSED!!
I went outside to the new technician and started to ask him more questions. We got to the point where he even showed me their price list for that product. His price was lower than mine, obviously, but now I was unable to figure out where the original quote amount came from. He even provided me with a quote that he would have given me. Not only was I overcharged, but it was by quite a bit. There was no calming me down now. The technician apologized and said that he thinks the previous technician was overcharging in order to keep the commission. Are you serious?
I asked to talk to his manager, so I could air my grievances. He obliged and I was on the phone with the manager airing it all out. I was not happy and the only way for me to deal with it was to get all of my money back. I wasn’t going to pay anything. I told the manager about the service that I received originally and how the first technician treated me. Everything he did was unacceptable. I also told the manager about how well the second technician treated me. In the end, I was refunded my money, but not after some go around.
Important Lesson Learned
So friends, that is my crazy story, but it doesn’t end there. I was actually able to call my original company and they came out the next day with the blower and put it in for about $500 less than the original quote. I was pleased with their service and how quickly they did it. All in all, I learned a very important lesson. First, make sure you get multiple quotes for everything. Even if you are in an emergency, make sure you jump online if you can and get some general pricing. Second, don’t pay for a service before it is complete. I normally wouldn’t do this, but I was not a fan of being without AC for the very hot weekend.
All of this was before I learned my money lessons from being in debt. This service cost me money that I had to put on my credit card and that did not help the cause. In the end of all of this, there were two different employees, two different prices, and one pissed customer.
So readers, what do you think about this story? Before you call me names for not using my common sense, this was years ago before I turned my financial life around. Do you have any crazy stories about a bad customer service experience?
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net