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Old 06-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
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Have I "been had"?


As an FYI, I'm a southern belle who wants to do the right thing, but I don't enjoy being taken advantage of. In this instance, I feel as if I've been cheated, and would be grateful for some feedback from you all, please. I need to know if my service man can be trusted. I apologize in advance for the length of the post...

I was contacted by my Heat Pump installer regarding maintenance. I've not had any trouble with the unit, but it had been a while since it was serviced, so it was probably due. It's an American Standard Heritage 10 heat pump.

I wasn't home with they came out, but they left a bill for a 35 amp contactor, coil cleaner and service call. Sent a check that day.

The breaker was tripped when I got home. I figure, OK. Reset the breaker.
Over the next few days, the breaker continued to trip (40 am breaker--unit appears to say max should be 35--if I'm reading it correctly.)

I call, and they come back out. They find a "bad Super Boost" hard start capacitor--it's cracked and corroded. They replace that, and my 40 amp breaker. I'm not happy about having to pay for another service call because I feel like they should have found this when they serviced the unit, less than a week before, and I express that opinion to the service man. So...the service man did not leave a bill. And when it arrives, it does not include a "service call" charge, BUT, the SPP-6 Super Boost (which I do not remember them installing to start with--and cannot find any record of) costs $129.00

Now...being a curious southern belle, I search the internet and find this site...I also find pricing on the internet for these super boost units ranging from 12.95 to around 40.00. To be clear...I am not opposed to people marking up product, I realize you have to. But I also feel like if someone can sell this on the internet for $12.95, they are clearly also making a profit, however small. In this instance, I feel that they did this, in particular, to not show the "service call"...i.e. I'm paying for the service call, they are just showing it as the cost of the Super Boost, rather than as a separate line item.

I'm torn with two issues...the cost, and if a unit has a "super boost" installed, and you are servicing the unit and replacing a 35 amp contactor, should you maybe pay particular attention to the super boost unit, and/or replace it at that time? What are the odds that the Super Boost unit would "crack and corrode' within 3 days of the initial service call?

I guess the entire gist of the post...do I need to find a new HVAC person to service my unit? I realize "stuff happens", but I need some outside feedback if I honestly should not "feel cheated". I am grateful for any feedback you provide.

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Old 06-10-2011, 10:38 AM   #2
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Did they kiss you before they..........? Find another contractor. There is a good chance that what they did the first time caused the second damage. I had a new motor installed. In a couple weeks the new motor came loose and destroyed the squirrel cage. They warrantied the motor but wanted me to pay for the new cage. I don't think so. Either stand up to them or find someone you can trust.

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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Not even a pat on the back!
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_My_Area View Post
As an FYI, I'm a southern belle who wants to do the right thing, but I don't enjoy being taken advantage of. In this instance, I feel as if I've been cheated, and would be grateful for some feedback from you all, please. I need to know if my service man can be trusted. I apologize in advance for the length of the post...

I was contacted by my Heat Pump installer regarding maintenance. I've not had any trouble with the unit, but it had been a while since it was serviced, so it was probably due. It's an American Standard Heritage 10 heat pump.

I wasn't home with they came out, but they left a bill for a 35 amp contactor, coil cleaner and service call. Sent a check that day.

The breaker was tripped when I got home. I figure, OK. Reset the breaker.
Over the next few days, the breaker continued to trip (40 am breaker--unit appears to say max should be 35--if I'm reading it correctly.)

I call, and they come back out. They find a "bad Super Boost" hard start capacitor--it's cracked and corroded. They replace that, and my 40 amp breaker. I'm not happy about having to pay for another service call because I feel like they should have found this when they serviced the unit, less than a week before, and I express that opinion to the service man. So...the service man did not leave a bill. And when it arrives, it does not include a "service call" charge, BUT, the SPP-6 Super Boost (which I do not remember them installing to start with--and cannot find any record of) costs $129.00

Now...being a curious southern belle, I search the internet and find this site...I also find pricing on the internet for these super boost units ranging from 12.95 to around 40.00. To be clear...I am not opposed to people marking up product, I realize you have to. But I also feel like if someone can sell this on the internet for $12.95, they are clearly also making a profit, however small. In this instance, I feel that they did this, in particular, to not show the "service call"...i.e. I'm paying for the service call, they are just showing it as the cost of the Super Boost, rather than as a separate line item.

I'm torn with two issues...the cost, and if a unit has a "super boost" installed, and you are servicing the unit and replacing a 35 amp contactor, should you maybe pay particular attention to the super boost unit, and/or replace it at that time? What are the odds that the Super Boost unit would "crack and corrode' within 3 days of the initial service call?

I guess the entire gist of the post...do I need to find a new HVAC person to service my unit? I realize "stuff happens", but I need some outside feedback if I honestly should not "feel cheated". I am grateful for any feedback you provide.
================

"Belle",

I hate stories like this - it gives the whole HVAC service sector a bad name.

If you agreed to allow the company to perfrom service on your unit in your absence, I always recommend that you have them submit a written report and written repair estimate BEFORE any work is done. That way, you have an opportunity to ask questions and comparison shop, especially if something sounds a little "off." You can also ask for references in your area to get feedback about their work and their warranties. You just can't be too careful these days.

As for the work that was performed, the company should guarantee it and you should not be charged after the fact. Another forum poster here could be right in saying that what was done initially may have caused additional damage. You stated you weren't having issues with the unit, so it's curious and suspicious that now you are suddenly experiencing breakdowns.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:40 PM   #5
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Have I "been had"?


Sorry guys but I disagree. The tech simply made a mistake like all of us humans do and missed corrosion on the hard start. The company did the right thing and only charged what it would have cost if the tech caught the problem while he was there the first time. Those of you in the business know a capacitor or motor can test perfect one day and go bad a few days later.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty S. View Post
Sorry guys but I disagree. The tech simply made a mistake like all of us humans do and missed corrosion on the hard start. The company did the right thing and only charged what it would have cost if the tech caught the problem while he was there the first time. Those of you in the business know a capacitor or motor can test perfect one day and go bad a few days later.
I agree too.............

That superboost just doesn't jump off the computer screen and get installed. Ups and fedex doesn't make a special trip to your house to deliver it-you are on the route.

It was standard practice to replace the start cap for only the cost of the part (that is actually the same price in my price book) after making another trip out.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
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Have I "been had"?


So it's a coincidence that it was working perfectly until they checked it, then everything started going bad. Not buying that.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:00 PM   #8
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Have I "been had"?


I would like to know if the unit has been running fine since they replaced the Super Boost Capacitor? First of all a Super Boost is a generic after market hard start capacitor installed if you have a stiff or failing compressor. If it is either of those then there is a bigger problem. Those after market hard start units are a lot cheaper than the proper OEM hard start kit that Am Std. would have supplied so they can fail at any time. I question why it needs one at all. Sounds like they are doing some fishing/parts changing by replacing the breaker too and charging for it. Totally IMPOSSIBLE for us to know what REALLY happened because we were never there doing the call. Gets to be a he said/she said debate with no end. If the unit is working properly then leave it alone and try a different contractor next time as it is impossible to prove who did what for what reason. I would not feel comfortable with this contractor as they can red flag you as a problem customer ( if you argued with them or gave them an attitude) and provide less than stellar service in the future. Not nice to say but lots of people are mean and vindictive.
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Last edited by yuri; 06-10-2011 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:09 PM   #9
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Have I "been had"?


bad girl.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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Whoa, Doc. Why am I a "bad girl"? I'm simply asking for feedback as to whether or not I've been cheated. If I shouldn't be asking those types of questions here, then where do I go for answers?

I indicated, as Marty says, "stuff happens". I've been there, too. But when I saw pricing on 12.95, it threw me, and made me question whether or not the "service call" charge was simply added to the Super Boost in an attempt to disguise the charge. I think that's a fair question. And I do appreciate the feedback, especially from you HVAC'ers.

If the 129 is a fair price, as both Marty and Technow seem to be saying, then I'll stick with this company. But I don't see how that makes me, or my questions, "bad".

The unit is now working fine, just as it was pre-"maintenance call". But I do wonder how long I've had a "super boost" unit in the system. I can't find a record of it anywhere. And other stuff that I've read seems to indicate that this (needing a super boost) would be indicative of a larger "gonna need a new unit soon" problem. Is that right? Or Likely? Should they be telling me that?

Also, would it be normal to replace the breaker, too? If the super boost was the problem, then why replace the breaker? I'm simply trying to learn, folks. It's like taking a car to a mechanic when all you know how to do is put gas in the car...you have no idea if you are being treated fairly or not.

Again, (well...except for Doc...LOL), I appreciate your feedback.
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:52 AM   #11
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The Super Boost is also called a hard start kit. If the compressor is having trouble starting it can trip the breaker. Put on the hard start kit and symptom of breaker tripping is resolved. So you have to decide if this additional problem was caused by or just happened to the technician. The two likely choices are a) both of you got unlucky and the hard start kit failed at the time they were in the unit so it appears that they were responsible but were not, b) or when they put in the contactor they miss wired or damaged the hard start kit which caused the symptoms you saw with the breaker tripping. Changing the breaker proactively in case it was tripping prematurely is a strategy for avoiding callbacks. The breaker changeout is sort of what you were wishing they had done with the hard start kit. The entire problem may not have been the hard start kit failing.

Avoiding conflict by moving charges around on the bill is common. Does not make it right but many do it, for some reason people are more willing to pay 200 dollars for a mysterious part than feed the guy that puts it in.

As far as not knowing the kit was on the system, just depends on who came out and how they manage their customer relationship, some tell all, some explain nothing. It is very likely that before the kit was put on before the breaker would have been tripping but not for sure. I have put them on when a system seemed to be struggling and had them last years.

The third option would be that they are trying to hit you for all they can by disconnecting the hard start kit and waiting for a callback but that would be kind of stupid, why not be the hero and show the cracked part and get the money the first trip if you are making up work. Also consider your current weather, where I live guys are working long days with too much work, not much percentage in making work when there is more than can get done.
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:56 AM   #12
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I re read your post......they never charged you for the breaker? only the superboost?
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:20 PM   #13
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No, they definitely charged me for the breaker!
I've paid (in 2 different calls) for
initial "maintenance" trip:
35 amp contactor
pint coil cleaner
service call fee

2nd trip because circuit breaker kept tripping (less than a week later)
40 amp breaker
SPP-6 Supra Super Boost
(no service call fee)

Total for both trips/parts/labor $366.00

Assuming they caught everything the first time...does that sound about right? I'm in rural Georgia.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:26 PM   #14
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Have I "been had"?


Move on....very cheap service price.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_My_Area View Post
No, they definitely charged me for the breaker!
I've paid (in 2 different calls) for
initial "maintenance" trip:
35 amp contactor
pint coil cleaner
service call fee

2nd trip because circuit breaker kept tripping (less than a week later)
40 amp breaker
SPP-6 Supra Super Boost
(no service call fee)

Total for both trips/parts/labor $366.00

Assuming they caught everything the first time...does that sound about right? I'm in rural Georgia.
Thats a bargain price you paid then. I would have been $175.00 for the hard start alone.


Places on the internet can sell them cheaper, cause they sell more of them in a day, then we do in a year.

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