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Old 04-10-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


I asked a company to check my system, the tech they send out said my compressor was bad and it would cost me $1080 to repair. However, when he replaced the compressor the system still does not work.

Should I be obligated to pay them?

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Old 04-10-2011, 07:32 PM   #2
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


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I asked a company to check my system, the tech they send out said my compressor was bad and it would cost me $1080 to repair. However, when he replaced the compressor the system still does not work.

Should I be obligated to pay them?
It depends, did they fix the wrong thing? Or did it have more than one thing wrong with it? I know from experience that sometimes one necessary repair may not 'fix' everything. Maybe something else is wrong too.

You certainly have the right to be pretty pissed that they told you 'A' was broken and fixing it would fix your problem. But, they did the work and provided you with a part with a total value of $1080. Even if they made a mistake, you shouldn't expect a windfall - maybe you could ask for the labor back, but you still have a new compressor. Unless you want to give it back.....

I would talk to the boss, let them know you are mad, and ask them what they plan on doing about it. I would expect that they make some accommodations for making the next repair.

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Old 04-10-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


Leah,

They certainly "did something"! If there was nothing wrong with the compressor and they replaced it, I don't see where I was "enriched or got a windfall"!

If there were the possibilities of other problems or expenses I would reponsible for, shouldn't they have explained that and if I based my decision to repair rather than replace the unit upon the info they provided, which was in essance, "your compressor is bad and it will cost $1080 (to fix your system)" shouldn't they be obligated that the info they provide be accurate or at least let me know the possibilities?

If the other companies I have scheduled to come out can get me up and running for a few hundred bucks, I will pay them their full bill. Otherwise, I will have to replace my entire heatpump/air exchanger system. And again, I will not have been enriched by their labor.
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


For that much money, I imagine they will take you court. Based on my experience as an attorney, they will likely win a judgment against you. All they have to say is that based on their professional experience they thought replacing your compressor would fix the problem. That you agreed to the repair and then failed to pay them for the labor or materials.

It's crappy. I think a responsible business would try and make things right for you. But I don't think you can avoid paying them, at least for the new compressor.

I think about all the times I've fixed an appliance replacing a part only to have something else fail at the time of the repair. It's frustrating. I hope the other company sheds some light on what really happened.

Good luck.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


As stated in the other thread there's no way for the tech to know another componet also needed replaced for the system to operate. Since the compressor didn't run he had no way to check everything. The money was for labor and refrigerant to replace a warranty compressor so yes it's owed.

He should have asked if you would like to replace reversing valve and txv's at the same time and told you they may or may not need changed but he couldn't tell without it running. That would have added several hundred dollars to the bill.
Talk to the owner or sevice manager and I'm sure they will deduct the vacuum pump time and new biflow drier from the additional repairs when they do them.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


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For that much money, I imagine they will take you court. Based on my experience as an attorney, they will likely win a judgment against you. All they have to say is that based on their professional experience they thought replacing your compressor would fix the problem. That you agreed to the repair and then failed to pay them for the labor or materials.

It's crappy. I think a responsible business would try and make things right for you. But I don't think you can avoid paying them, at least for the new compressor.

I think about all the times I've fixed an appliance replacing a part only to have something else fail at the time of the repair. It's frustrating. I hope the other company sheds some light on what really happened.

Good luck.

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Old 04-10-2011, 10:51 PM   #7
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


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You certainly have the right to be pretty pissed that they told you 'A' was broken and fixing it would fix your problem. But, they did the work and provided you with a part with a total value of $1080. Even if they made a mistake, you shouldn't expect a windfall - maybe you could ask for the labor back, but you still have a new compressor. Unless you want to give it back.

I would certainly not pay a $1080 bill if my unit was still not working, if the tech said the compressor was bad and a new one did not fix it, then obviously the compressor was not bad to begin with. Why should he be responsible for a techs screw up. Obviously the thing to do is talk to the manager of that company and work it out. Maybe the original compressor was bad. Maybe the tech did not get it hooked up right, maybe he has a leak, maybe a dozen other reasons. Maybe the tech is just a total hack. But regardless he should no way be responsible for THAT bill. I would think any reasonable company owner/ manager would want to remedy the situation.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:55 AM   #8
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


You're gonna have to have another company come out and find out what the real problem is, if its unrelated to the compressor then you shouldn't have to pay the other guys for a new one. Now if the initial problem fried the compressor than thats a different story.
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:55 AM   #9
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


Since all we know is that you said the lights dimmed when it tried to run, and then a tech condemned the compressor. It sounds like the RV may have gotten stuck in the middle and left the compressor over heat too many times, and seized it. Its not possible to know that a system has a bad reversing valve if the compressor doesn't run.

At this point, a good company will generally offer to replace the RV at cost if you talk to the manager or owner, and explain that you were under the impression that the compressor replacement was the only thing needed.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


First of all, the compressor may have been bad and yes, the reversing valve is probably bad, and could the tech diagnosed a bad reversing valve maybe or maybe not.

The point being, he told me the problem with my system was "the compressor" and that's it! There was never any talk about another possible problem , or that when he got the compressor up and running he might could find another problem. He led me to believe that replacing the compressor would fix my system and that is what I expected.

I didn't know that there was anything other than a fan motor, compressor and a capacitor in the heat pump until that day. How should I know, I'm not a technician. I had to rely on his diagnosis to make a decision and that's exactly what I did.

With quotes of the same or more to replace the reversing valve, I will have to replace my entire system, therefore I have not been unjustly "enriched" by his mistake. It will not be repaired further.

If they take me to court...I will be there with the service ticket that says " compressor will not start and have to be replaced" and "replace warranty compressor...$1080" and let the judge decide whether a reasonable person should have assumed that there might be other problems causing the system not to run despite late of communication or notation to that effect.

Let me be clear, I don't want to beat these people out of money but I cannot trust their work further and feel certain that they would not keep me as a customer now. So negotiating pricing on a new system through them and allowing them to discount this job to an acceptable amount for them doesn't seem to be in my best interest.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:02 PM   #11
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


There is NO WAY to test a reversing valve if the compressor doesn't run. And no reason to suspect a bad reversing valve on every heat pump with a bad compressor. I find maybe 1 out of 100 heat pump compressor changes outs have a bad reversing valve.

If they had thought that the reversing valve was bad. They simply would have told you it was probably bad, and that it needs to be changed out at the same time, and will be X dollars more to do at the same time.

No one likes changing out a reversing valve when its not bad. Nor to have to change it out after just installing a new compressor, and then finding out the reversing valve is bad, and thats what killed the compressor. It isn't fun to have to recover the charge again, and change out the reversing valve. When it could have been done at the same time as the compressor.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:04 PM   #12
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


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Let me be clear, I don't want to beat these people out of money but I cannot trust their work further and feel certain that they would not keep me as a customer now. So negotiating pricing on a new system through them and allowing them to discount this job to an acceptable amount for them doesn't seem to be in my best interest.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:43 PM   #13
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


I would have to think that it's a honest company and the compressor was bad. They should have made you aware they don't know why it went bad, could have been from the reversing valve, or some other component failure in the refrigerant system that caused the compressor to go bad. The sad part is you could have gotten a new condensing unit for the price they will now charge you to go back and find what else is the problem. Did they find out what the real problem is.

You really have no other option but to pay.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:41 PM   #14
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


Better talk with a lawyer. If it goes to court you will lose and end up paying the $1080 + a few thousand in legal fees. What you have going against you here....
The tech could only identify the stuck compressor and informed you of it. You then authorized that repair. He could not test reversing valve without the compressor running and as beenthere stated a reversing valve failure causing the compressor to lock up is very rare. An automatic reversing valve replacement when changing a compressor is not normal procedure. I've never met a customer who said go ahead and double the bill by replacing parts that might or might not be bad or one who said let me spend thousands on a new unit since the compressor(that's still under warranty) went bad. The only positive you have is he didn't inform you that there could be other problems but from my example below you'll see that's not required.

A couple years back we head to church on a winter Sunday morning and see water coming out of the ground in the yard across the street. Visted mom after that and came home to see a city worker looking at the leak, he thought it was the main. An hour or so later here comes a truck and 4 workers who dug up the spot and replaced a 8" section of copper pipe. Turns out that section of pipe fed my house (home owner reponsible for all pipes except the city main) so they sent a bill for $2000 and slapped an instant lien on the house. Tried to fight it since I could have had our guys do it for less then half that even on overtime. Keep in mind work van sitting in the driveway with plumbing/ heating and air plastered all over it. Work not authorized,too many guys just holding up shovels and one of the bigger companies in town service van in the drive way. Long story short ended up consulting with a lawyer and he flat out said it would cost more then $2000 to fight it and he probably wouldn't win.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:56 PM   #15
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Should I pay for misdiagnosed problem?


I agree with Marty and Beenthere. Once you authorise work you have to pay for it or they can lien you. If I get a bad compressor I don't have to list every possible scenario on my work order as to why it failed. We don't carry crystal balls in our tool boxes. My large long term reputable company would look at my labor cost, materials etc and give the customer the option of applying the difference to a new unit or continuing with repairs. This scenario happens only 1-2% of the time and we do thousands of calls a year so they don't mind absorbing a few $$ to keep the customer happy and staying with us. Doubt the judge will side with you and if you pay a lawyer then they have to call expert witnesses and pay them and it does not get to that point for under $1000 bill. If I take my car to the garage they don't have to itemize every scenario for my problem either. I still pay for the repairs or they keep the keys.

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Last edited by yuri; 04-12-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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