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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Florida
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    309
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    How Do You Guys Handle This?

    So here's the deal. Cleaned and ice machine a few weeks back. About a week after cleaning the production slows down. I go out troubleshoot the unit and according to tech support at the big M it has a bad compressor. The compressor is under warranty but not the labor. We go out and install the compressor and bill the labor. Follow up a few days later and confirm with the customer everything is running great. The customer gets the labor bill and is now at the "It was fine until you cleaned it" point. I explained to the customer that a compressor failure has nothing to do with cleaning. Not to mention that this guy has 4 locations and I've cleaned ice machines in all of them and no other one has had any issues other than a bad control pad, which was noticed when we tried to go from ice making to cleaning but was completely covered under warranty.

    Any way, just wondering what you guys do when the customer is basically telling you that you broke it and are charging them to fix it?

    I've heard suggestions of just eating the labor to show the customer we're honest and value the business but I have two issues with that 1) We did nothing wrong and deserve to be paid for what we did. 2) I don't want to set a precedent that whenever they throw a fit they'll get free work.

    Thanks in advance.
    Training is a forever thing in a good technician’s life

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    772
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    demand payment
    Keep it simple to keep it cool!

  3. Likes kamersoutdoor liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
    Posts
    10,072
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    You cleaned it, they signed the ticket, it ran for a few weeks?

    Sorry but not our problem, who wants a PITA customer like that let my competition have em!

  5. Likes kamersoutdoor, mofotech liked this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    6,480
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    Been there done that. Fired the customer.
    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    You cleaned it, they signed the ticket, it ran for a few weeks?

    Sorry but not our problem, who wants a PITA customer like that let my competition have em!

  7. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    8,380
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    Put a mechanics lien on the property. I think there are time limits to file those.

    Real kick in the pants if he is not the property owner.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    29
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    It really depends on the number of jobs you gain from this customer. We have a few customers that pull that quite often, however, something can always be worked out. Good customer, more than likely lighten the bill so its not a complete loss. That way a relationship is retained.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    347
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    I'm sure that happens a lot more than you think. I went to a service call years ago, business had 2 walkin boxes 1 ice machine and multiple self contained cases I had to clean plugged condensers and clean ice machine.I suggested preventive maintainance business owner told me get lost Preventive maintainance should be free.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    8,380
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    LOL !!


    Quote Originally Posted by uncle buck View Post
    I'm sure that happens a lot more than you think. I went to a service call years ago, business had 2 walkin boxes 1 ice machine and multiple self contained cases I had to clean plugged condensers and clean ice machine.I suggested preventive maintainance business owner told me get lost Preventive maintainance should be free.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    347
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    Just remembered a doozy I changed a 5 hp compresser on a rooftop condensing unit for a walk in box in a specialty store my boss had a guy show up with a boom truck nice, rig in new, rig out dead compressor. My boss itemized bill with a charge for the boom truck. Customer paid bill "MINUS" the boom truck charge customer feels that he should not have to pay for rig boss just told me about this yesterday.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Bellevue, Washington, United States
    Posts
    714
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    You know you did your job right and you deserve to be paid. The first step is be really nice and give them a week make payment. If they refuse and you don't care to work for them anymore then it's time to flex you're muscles. Did you sign a contract with them that has an "attorneys fees provision"? My contracts have that and a 12% interest rate provision. If I have to file a small claims suit against the client I remind them that when I'm done the bill is going to be a lot higher than it is now. That usually gets them to pay in a real hurry. I've reminded many other contractors on this site that to be a great HVAC contractor you need to be more than just good at fixing furnaces. You need to be brave and stick up for yourself or else you could get used.

  13. Likes buford, mofotech, Cole_Schleif, RichO liked this post
  14. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    6,480
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    Although I agree in principle if it is under a certain amount and mostly labor I will just say to H with it. I had to go back to court 3 times for 1 company. Yes I collected but I lost a lot of time. Probably wouldn't have bothered but the guy is a multi millionaire.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Colver View Post
    You know you did your job right and you deserve to be paid. The first step is be really nice and give them a week make payment. If they refuse and you don't care to work for them anymore then it's time to flex you're muscles. Did you sign a contract with them that has an "attorneys fees provision"? My contracts have that and a 12% interest rate provision. If I have to file a small claims suit against the client I remind them that when I'm done the bill is going to be a lot higher than it is now. That usually gets them to pay in a real hurry. I've reminded many other contractors on this site that to be a great HVAC contractor you need to be more than just good at fixing furnaces. You need to be brave and stick up for yourself or else you could get used.

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    10,099
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    I still have some judgements that are not worth the paper their awarded on.

  16. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    8,380
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    Yeah, it's not worth pursuing if there is no property to put a lien on.


    Quote Originally Posted by VTP99 View Post
    I still have some judgements that are not worth the paper their awarded on.

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