I think Brirbius makes some good points.
Even amoung those here, I see hiding info. Some of the secrecy, I know why and I am fine with that.
I think it is unreasonable for bribrius to expect to pay his HVAC guy a service call, if he is his "goto" HVAC guy. He serviced the boiler, the boiler blew, and common sense tells you that the landlord is looking for a replacement. You don't fix blown boilers. Sure, I suppose you can look at it like he was vague, but blown means has a big friggin hole to me.
That call should have been looked at as a sales call or a callback from the get-go, unless bribrius had a habit of silly calls.
The frustration that bribrius expresses, is the frustration that all people seem to be expressing with customer services. If you don't keep you customers happy, satisfied and informed, they will find someone else who will. You can't give away your sevices, but you can't chase customers away either.
There has been many here expressing frustrations with wholesalers and customers for "going around" them to aquire parts and cutting out their slice of the money pie. Then refusing to do installs because they are feeling "cut too thin". Instead of rasing rates for the situation or finding a way to make some money, they think they are doing themselves a favor by refusing the work. Someday they just may regret those decisions...
Someone else WILL do the work.