Am I getting fleeced???
My AC stopped working and I called a local HVAC company to check it out. The prior home owner must have used them, as there were magnets attached to the indoor air handler. Let me describe what has happened since I called them; please comment on any part as I need advice on how to proceed (forgive me if it gets long winded):
The repairman took a look at the system (Lennox hp13-030-230-01 and Lennox cb19-31-2p) and said there was absolutely no freon in the system. Proceeded to add some freon and run a leak test. Said he found a small leak in the outdoor unit (only 4 yrs old so still under warranty) that could easily be fixed, but then found a large leak in the indoor coil. Said it would most likely cost more to fix, if he could even find a part, since the unit was 20+ years old. He gave me an estimate for a replacement air handler (2.5 ton Lennox model 030 was all he wrote on the estimate). He did say that I could probably run it for a while until the freon ran out (I turned the system off when he left). He told me in order to set up the repair, I had to pay half up front (right then). I stated I wanted to get a few more estimates. I paid him for the leak test and service call and he left).
I then got a few more estimates. Some said I had to replace both units because the old refrigerant was being phased out. Some said I could get the old refrigerant because they ship out dry and just need a TXV valve, or whatever it's called. One said I could even upgrade the new air handler to the NEW refrigerant down the road if the outside unit failed and I wanted to get a new outside unit running the new refrigerant.
I ended up going with the first company. Here is where everything seems to be going downhill. After talking to a sales/installation rep, I get a new estimate (two units that "still kept the outside unit warranty valid") for a CBX27UH030 or CBX32MV024-030. He said he'd call the next morning. The next day...nothing. I call late in the day and the operator says she would page him to call me. I later called his cell phone and left a message. No return call. Called the next evening after hours and the answering service apologizes and says he would page him as well as the on duty supervisor; he'd call back or there would be consequences. He calls and apologizes. We set up the install for the first day available and he said he'd be there before the install guy to pick up the paperwork and see where the small leak in the outside unit is to make sure it gets fixed properly.
Day of install comes and the install guy comes. No sales rep, though. I said he was supposed to be here first to see where the leak in the outside unit was. He knew nothing about it. It wouldn't have been fixed if I had not mentioned it. He apologized for the sales rep and got to work.
I left to run some errands (was going to take most of day). Got a call from install guy much later saying he was almost done. I get home and there are two extra trucks there. The sales guy was now there, as well as someone else. According to them, the outside unit had no low flow regulator, so over the winter when the freon ran out the compressor died and there was no way of knowing it until turning the system on after filling it with freon. Repair would cost more than a new outside unit. He said the good news is that if I got a new unit, they could use the original valve for modern refrigerant, PLUS he had just been to a meeting with a Lennox rep, who said he was willing to sell a 17 Seer for the cost of a 14 Seer, which is way better than any estimate I had received. He later called back and said he talked to the guy again and he would only do that if I bought a bunch of extras like solar panels. My new estimate for a 14 Seer is now more than estimates from other companies (not Lennox, but Payne, Bryant, and Carrier) for their 15 Seer packages.
I now feel trapped. They said they couldn't had known the compressor outside was bad until running it, which also "polluted" the lines and the TXV valve, which would need to be replaced. But I later remembered the original repair man had filled the system with some freon, and said I could continue to run it! I also have heard from a different company that they could have been able to tell if they had performed the leak test). He also tells me by the model number that the air handler he installed is only a 2 ton, instead of a 2.5 ton.
What are my options?? I feel they should remove the 2 ton and put in the 2.5 ton. I also feel they should replace the outside unit. I'd be willing to pay what he hinted at (a 17 Seer for the price of a 14 Seer). Otherwise, I think they should flip the cost of a 15 Seer, which I would have paid for, but now have no trust in them.
Please help. I'm more than willing to pay for good service, but I don't think I'm receiving it.
I think alot of this boiled down to education. I had a similiar situation to this a couple of months back I had trane six years old no freon leak in the condensor client was tryin to run system all night to try to get heat. So when I found out the problem I educated the customer and let them know look you have a leak in the condensor the refirgerant is gone we have know way of knowing about the compressor.... so on and so forth. I let them know all that up front basically laid out all the scenerios not just said yup its broke see yah. I think that is where they failed the service tech should have gone over everything with you in the beginning. Then let you decide how you want to go about it.
As for the sales rep allot of times these guys arent hvac techs so he only knows what a compressor is not how to troubleshoot it. As for the lennox solar unit that is very high end you can get a regular 14 or higher seer for cheaper.
My advice get some estimates on replacing the condensor. I think you might run into a problem with another company wanting to finish some elses job though. It would kind of get tricky if something goes wrong as far who did what who is responsible for it. so on so on. Hope this helps.
Good Pracice - provide HVAC customers with a written contractual Bill of Rights
Well, all new A/C & heat pump systems ought to be required to come with at least low & high pressure switches.
It is strange how systems have multiple leaking areas, with usually one in the indoor coil area that they can't (fix) braze.
Upfront, fully accurate disclosure to the customer is essential to good relationships...
Due to some HVAC companies procedural practices, it appears the customer needs some upfront contractual protections.
Some companies in the Home Energy Efficiency Auditing field are providing contractual grievance arbitration rights.
Were I not retired, I would be providing my potential HVAC customers with a written contractual Bill of Rights. You will get more jobs...
Strange & unbelievable as it is, since the mid-1970's I told them what I was going to do & why, usually provided hard copy model numbers, & all my customers trusted my word; I never had a grievance to deal with.
I still can't believe it. It pays to make customers happy...
I am having a hard time following the story, so forgive me if I missed something.
You stated the outdoor unit (condenser) is only 4 year old and still under warranty. So why can't the compressor and any leaks be replaced and fixed as warranty items? If the condenser was ruined because it was improperly installed (no low flow regulator?), then the installation company (the one you are using) needs to figure out who is going to cover the costs of this error.
As fas as the new air handler goes, do you have an estimate with the model number indicating it should be 2.5 tons? If so, then this is another error which contractor needs to correct. It sounds like Mr. Salesman was asleep at the switch when all of this occurred, and is now trying to cover his tracks so he won't get fired. It was interesting he was unreachable just before the installation was scheduled and the instrallation crew knew nothing about what was discussed.
Take a deep breath and stay calm, this is going to take some work to unravel.
They would've lost me with the lack of follow up on the phone calls...no excuses in my book in this day of cell phones and Blackberrys...
(The wise men of modern thought) adore a god made of putty or of wax - plastic, effeminate, molluscous, with no masculine faculty about him, and no quality that entitles him to the respect of just and honest men, for a being who cannot be angry at wrongdoing is destitute of one of the essential virtues, and a moral Ruler who is not angry with the wicked, and who refuses to punish crime, is not divine. ---Spurgeon
This is one big mess for sure.
They should have told you not to run the system with a leak. Low end units (and some deluxe units) don't have loss of charge switches and we see this happen all the time. Unit runs low, fries compressor & contaminates the system.
Since the compressor is in warranty, buying a new unit doesn't make sense. As for the 17 for the 14 price, I looked up how the 17 does yesterday for another member. The heating & cooling efficiency, especially heating, was BETTER for the XP14. Gees.
I don't know what can be done. If this outfit is at all customer satisfaction friendly, something should be able to be worked out that doesn't screw you. But it doesn't sound good. I don't know how Lennox is at trying to help a customer with a problem child either.
The company's original estimate (from the repairman) listed mode 030 2.5 ton (that's pretty much all he put). The new estimate from the sales guy listed just model #s (CBX27UH030 or CBX32MV024-030)...no mention of tonnage.
As far as the outside compressor goes. He stated that it IS under warranty, but only for parts, not labor. And the labor would run as much, if not more than, a new unit (he had a 3 ring binder with labor costs under/not under warranty). I was pretty amazed that the labor would be that much for "under warranty".
Also, even though he said I could, I did not run the system with a leak in it. I shut it off when he left. I don't even know if the air got cooled by the unit, it was on for so little time.
Thank you for the help so far. Any further help to sorting out this mess would be GREATLY appreciated.
For now, I'm ignoring HIS calls. I don't want to give him a heads up as to my evidence of negligence. I believe he is the type to make up reasons to cover his tracks
Obviously I can't speak for any other companies, but we do charge labor to fix/replace anything that is under warranty , unless a situation was determined that customer service would be best served to do a FOC service. and yes... some warranty replacements can be pretty labor intensive=costly.
just so you know.
good luck man. I would document everything and ask as many questions as possible . maybe take it up the ladder to any higher ups at that company?
Thanks, Eric. I was informed about the labor costs, so it wasn't too much of a surprise. I am a little disappointed that the manufacturer doesn't cover at least some of those costs (past the first year that I saw many warranties had labor for also). If they were to ship out a unit with a defective part that goes after one year, and labor is nearly the cost of a new unit...well, that kind of stinks for the homeowner. But I do understand you guys are doing a job and need to get paid.
I've just spoken to a supervisor who will be looking into the situation further. He said that things definitely weren't handled well as far as customer service goes. He did say they were excellent techs... the best around, but understood that with the customer service I had received it would be hard for me to trust his opinion. Hopefully this can be resolved soon!
If the original tech had it running, then it didn't go out over the winter, and they are forgetting that he had it running.
You got real poor customer service, and if the service manager is as concerned as you made it seem. They might make concessions on cost of compressor swap out labor, and coil repair labor.
Make sure he double checks which indoor unit you got.
Well if it had a leak in heating then there's likely green slime inside the copper. Ask the company service manager to explain the details of Lennox's green slime program.
Originally Posted by bnapper
Considering you’ve already stated that your condenser is under warranty I’d say they are trying to bend you over. They believe they have you pushed against a wall.
I’d get the big boss involved in this one! They should have tested the compressor before installing the AHU.
When I have a customer that chooses to replace the AHU only or cased coil only with a 10+ year condenser I explain the chances of a future compressor failure. UP FRONT!!!
There should be no problem with simply replacing the AHU with a TXV rated for use with R-22. This happens ALL the time. They sound like jerk offs!
Here is what I would have quoted given what you have stated… replace indoor AHU, flush refrigerant lines, replace drier, install TXV rated for R-22 operation, leak test, pull vacuum, charge with refrigerant and evaluate system operation.
I'm now looking to go ahead and get a new outdoor unit. I'm working with the install supervisor to get me something that gets me the meager tax credit. I'm hoping the price reflects some sort of concession on his part to win me back as a future customer.
They were trying to get me to go with an XP 14(?) which is a 14 Seer. I'm now hearing that it won't get me the tax credit, so he's waiting to hear back from the Lennox rep to see what they can do for me on a 17 Seer. Apparently there is no 15 Seer that matches up with my outdoor unit? <<sigh>> Well, I'd be happy if they can get me the 17 Seer for the cost of a 14 Seer, which he just told me would run about $$$$ (total for already installed AHU, running the lines since they got polluted when the compressor blew and the new outdoor unit).
I appreciate all the comments so far. You've helped me have a better idea of what to say and what to ask for. If you have any more thoughts or comments, I'd really appreciate that, too.
Last edited by Chris_Worthington; 05-10-2011 at 06:01 PM.
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