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Dispute with HVAC guy - was I in the right?
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:08 am
last week, our heater broke. our plumber recommended a hvac guy, and I called him. hvac guy said his service call is $120, and I had him out last tuesday. he apparently just turned some knob and the heater started working again, and he said it was fixed. I gave him a check for $120.

hvac guy also said the filter should be cleaned, and cleaned it and left it out to dry and told me to put it back in later once its dry.

that evening my husband tried putting the filter back in, and apparently didn't know what he was doing and/or it was old already, and he cracked the filter.

on wednesday, I called the hvac guy and asked him if he could pick up a new one for us at the parts store. hvac guy said sure, and said he'd have his son pick up it up at the parts store and the hvac guy would come buy and put it in as a courtesy. he came by on friday and put in the filter, and I paid him for the filter at cost.

on sunday, the heater stopped working -- five days after the "repair" on tuesday. I called hvac guy yesterday (monday) and told him this and asked him to come out again and properly fix it. he said he'd have to charge me again for another service call, because he's already been out twice.

I told him that he obviously didn't fix it properly if it stopped working within five days, that he's obligated to come out again and properly fix it, and that the $120 I paid the first time shouldn't have to be paid again. I also said, yes it was nice of you to pick up the filter and come by and put it in as a courtesy, but that doesn't mean I should have to pay $120 again because you didn't fix it properly.

hvac guy refused to come by again without charge. I had my husband call hvac guy. my husband got firm with him and told him he needs to come by, and hvac guy told my husband that he'll just send back our $120 check so he didn't have to deal with us. and all are okay with this outcome.

so, the question, just as a hypothetical (since it's resolved): was hvac guy obligated to come back out for free since the unit stopped working within 5 days of the repair?
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amother




Blush


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:16 am
Obligated under what set of rules?
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:19 am
amother wrote:
Obligated under what set of rules?


OP here... under general principles of common sense, fairness, morality, torah, US law. any/all the above!

hvac guy isn't jewish, and I'm not a talmud expert but I assume the law of the land (US law) would be applicable
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amother




Sienna


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:21 am
Do you know the warranty policy? I work for a handyman company and usually if something was fixed and then broke again within a certain amount of time, another visit should be under warranty, but thats if its the same issue.
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:23 am
amother wrote:
Do you know the warranty policy? I work for a handyman company and usually if something was fixed and then broke again within a certain amount of time, another visit should be under warranty, but thats if its the same issue.


op here... nothing in writing (no contract), nothing stated about warranty one way or another I.e. "no warranty" not said and no warranty given.
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Chayalle




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:24 am
It's very hard to know if there was any indication of a problem, when the HVAC guy originally came, that lead to it breaking 5 days later. We don't know if it was something he should've seen, checked, etc....It could be coincidental, two separate occurrences, and that's how he's looking at it.

Just because the time frame is close doesn't mean he owes you to keep coming back to check your heater.

It could just be that you have an old heater, and different parts of it are breaking down from heavy use (it has been cold lately) and each time, he has to service a different part of it...and you owe him payment for each service.

I don't know wear fairness, morality, and law come in just because of the close time frame. He did get it working for you the first time, and it sounds like now there's another issue....
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doctorima




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:29 am
Why should he be "obligated?" If he didn't offer a warranty on his work, what legal right do you have to demand that he come back again for free? It might be morally nice for him to do it, but considering that he already gave you one courtesy return visit, I don't see what obligation he has to come back again and work for free.

In the future, you should ask repairmen what their warranty policy is on their work; competent ones should give anywhere from 1-6 months.
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:32 am
Chayalle wrote:
It's very hard to know if there was any indication of a problem, when the HVAC guy originally came, that lead to it breaking 5 days later. We don't know if it was something he should've seen, checked, etc....It could be coincidental, two separate occurrences, and that's how he's looking at it.

Just because the time frame is close doesn't mean he owes you to keep coming back to check your heater.

It could just be that you have an old heater, and different parts of it are breaking down from heavy use (it has been cold lately) and each time, he has to service a different part of it...and you owe him payment for each service.

I don't know wear fairness, morality, and law come in just because of the close time frame. He did get it working for you the first time, and it sounds like now there's another issue....


op here... yeah, we don't know one way or another what the new problem is -- whether he fixed it badly and it's the same problem, whether it's a new problem that he should have spotted during his general diagnosis, etc. I won't know all that until the new guy comes and fixes it properly. but I think that it didn't work within 5 days **suggests** that he either didn't fix the actual problem or didn't diagnose it properly to discover the actual problem.

doctorima wrote:
Why should he be "obligated?" If he didn't offer a warranty on his work, what legal right do you have to demand that he come back again for free? It might be morally nice for him to do it, but considering that he already gave you one courtesy return visit, I don't see what obligation he has to come back again and work for free.

In the future, you should ask repairmen what their warranty policy is on their work; competent ones should give anywhere from 1-6 months.


the "legal" argument is that he didn't do what he was supposed to do for the $120, I.e., fix the thing properly and we never got what we paid for.
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amother




Yellow


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 10:52 am
doctorima wrote:
Why should he be "obligated?" If he didn't offer a warranty on his work, what legal right do you have to demand that he come back again for free? It might be morally nice for him to do it, but considering that he already gave you one courtesy return visit, I don't see what obligation he has to come back again and work for free.

In the future, you should ask repairmen what their warranty policy is on their work; competent ones should give anywhere from 1-6 months.


Whether a warranty was specified or not it's only reasonable and fair that the work should last for a certain amount of time. How long that time frame is, is debatable. If it broke the following day would you still say that there's no warranty? What about same day, a few hours later? Still no warrenty?
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amother




Taupe


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:05 pm
Assuming you're even dealing with the same problem, it's very possible that his quick fix was something that could have been a permanent fix. Since he's not Hashem, he doesn't know whether or not it's a permanent fix until it starts having problems again. You're paying him for his time, not just his skill in repairing parts. So it's very reasonable for him to expect more payment for his time if you're going to need him to come back to your home. It's also doubtful that he knew he wasn't fixing anything the first time. He could have done a more complicated fix and charged you more for it, but he didn't. He did something more simple, probably thinking there was a good chance it didn't need more, and charged you base rate. Plus he bought a filter and delivered it at no charge. Based on your story, you're likely dealing with an honest repairman and you have unrealistic expectations in terms of how repairs work.
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Sebastian




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:12 pm
most do warranty their work for a certain amount of time, but they aren't obligated to
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rinkarab




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:14 pm
amother wrote:
last week, our heater broke. our plumber recommended a hvac guy, and I called him. hvac guy said his service call is $120, and I had him out last tuesday. he apparently just turned some knob and the heater started working again, and he said it was fixed. I gave him a check for $120.

hvac guy also said the filter should be cleaned, and cleaned it and left it out to dry and told me to put it back in later once its dry.

that evening my husband tried putting the filter back in, and apparently didn't know what he was doing and/or it was old already, and he cracked the filter.

on wednesday, I called the hvac guy and asked him if he could pick up a new one for us at the parts store. hvac guy said sure, and said he'd have his son pick up it up at the parts store and the hvac guy would come buy and put it in as a courtesy. he came by on friday and put in the filter, and I paid him for the filter at cost.

on sunday, the heater stopped working -- five days after the "repair" on tuesday. I called hvac guy yesterday (monday) and told him this and asked him to come out again and properly fix it. he said he'd have to charge me again for another service call, because he's already been out twice.

I told him that he obviously didn't fix it properly if it stopped working within five days, that he's obligated to come out again and properly fix it, and that the $120 I paid the first time shouldn't have to be paid again. I also said, yes it was nice of you to pick up the filter and come by and put it in as a courtesy, but that doesn't mean I should have to pay $120 again because you didn't fix it properly.

hvac guy refused to come by again without charge. I had my husband call hvac guy. my husband got firm with him and told him he needs to come by, and hvac guy told my husband that he'll just send back our $120 check so he didn't have to deal with us. and all are okay with this outcome.

so, the question, just as a hypothetical (since it's resolved): was hvac guy obligated to come back out for free since the unit stopped working within 5 days of the repair?
an hvac guy is not god so doesn’t know everything wrong with heater all they do is try to get it to work and then their job is done. If next day it’s broken again then they try to find next thing broken but it’s still a separate service call.
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amother




Blush


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:15 pm
amother wrote:
OP here... under general principles of common sense, fairness, morality, torah, US law. any/all the above!

hvac guy isn't jewish, and I'm not a talmud expert but I assume the law of the land (US law) would be applicable


The laws of the land are always applicable. He didn’t break a law.
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amother




Cyan


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:40 pm
My husband is an HVAC guy.

Hes extremely ehrlich and honest. (Almost to a fault actually). One of his biggest complaints is when he has an unhappy customer who is upset because "it just broke again" a few days after he repaired it, and when he looks at it and sees that it was a totally different problem, the customer got upset about paying him again. These machines and things can have hundreds of parts to them, and there are zillions of things that can go wrong. The more you use something, and the older it gets, the more components need to be repaired.

If its the same exact problem that he repairied a few days ago, he wont charge again. Because his "fix" didnt really work. But if its something unrelated, he will, and youd be surprised just how often that happens.
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amother




Cyan


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 1:45 pm
amother wrote:


I told him that he obviously didn't fix it properly if it stopped working within five days, that he's obligated to come out again and properly fix it, and that the $120 I paid the first time shouldn't have to be paid again.


This is the kind of thing that drives my husband (the HVAC tech from above post) crazy.
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:05 pm
amother wrote:
My husband is an HVAC guy.

Hes extremely ehrlich and honest. (Almost to a fault actually). One of his biggest complaints is when he has an unhappy customer who is upset because "it just broke again" a few days after he repaired it, and when he looks at it and sees that it was a totally different problem, the customer got upset about paying him again. These machines and things can have hundreds of parts to them, and there are zillions of things that can go wrong. The more you use something, and the older it gets, the more components need to be repaired.

If its the same exact problem that he repairied a few days ago, he wont charge again. Because his "fix" didnt really work. But if its something unrelated, he will, and youd be surprised just how often that happens.


op here... thanks for the input. assuming there's a different problem, my question is why he didn't discover it the first time around? for me, if this was something that would have been hard to detect the first time around, then he did nothing wrong. but if he could have and should have noticed the problem within a few minutes, then it suggests shoddy workmanship. yes, he's not hashem -- but would a competent hvac guy have spotted the second problem? we don't know.

if the hvac guy told me he'd come out again and he wouldn't charge if it's the same problem and his fix didn't work, that would be a different story. if it turned out to be a different -- and bigger -- problem that I would have had to pay for the first time around anyway, I would have paid.
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amother




Blush


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:15 pm
amother wrote:
op here... thanks for the input. assuming there's a different problem, my question is why he didn't discover it the first time around? for me, if this was something that would have been hard to detect the first time around, then he did nothing wrong. but if he could have and should have noticed the problem within a few minutes, then it suggests shoddy workmanship. yes, he's not hashem -- but would a competent hvac guy have spotted the second problem? we don't know.

if the hvac guy told me he'd come out again and he wouldn't charge if it's the same problem and his fix didn't work, that would be a different story. if it turned out to be a different -- and bigger -- problem that I would have had to pay for the first time around anyway, I would have paid.


He wasn't called in to do a full inspection of your heating system (which should be done regularly - as a 'wellness check"). He was called in because the system wasn't working... So he does what we all do when we problem solve. Try thing 1. If that doesn't work, try thing 2.... So 'thing 1 worked' he's done. Then he cleaned for you - which was extra nice.
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:20 pm
amother wrote:
He wasn't called in to do a full inspection of your heating system (which should be done regularly - as a 'wellness check"). He was called in because the system wasn't working... So he does what we all do when we problem solve. Try thing 1. If that doesn't work, try thing 2.... So 'thing 1 worked' he's done. Then he cleaned for you - which was extra nice.


op here... to be fair, he said he said the $120 service call included a "general diagnostic," whatever that means and however that's the same or different than a "wellness check."
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amother




Cyan


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:35 pm
amother wrote:
op here... thanks for the input. assuming there's a different problem, my question is why he didn't discover it the first time around? for me, if this was something that would have been hard to detect the first time around, then he did nothing wrong. but if he could have and should have noticed the problem within a few minutes, then it suggests shoddy workmanship. yes, he's not hashem -- but would a competent hvac guy have spotted the second problem? we don't know.

if the hvac guy told me he'd come out again and he wouldn't charge if it's the same problem and his fix didn't work, that would be a different story. if it turned out to be a different -- and bigger -- problem that I would have had to pay for the first time around ianyway, I would have paid.


There are so many reasons he may not have noticed the other problem-mainly, that it wasnt an issue yet at the time. Things constantly break. It could easily have been fine at the time of the first issue.
Also, even if it was something that was starting to deteriorate at the time of the first issue, if he wasnt taking apart the machine to check on the overall wellbeing (and why would he) then how would he notice? Even competent techs cant predict when different little pieces will corrode, snap etc

Its like taking your kid to the doc for one thing and having to go back a week later for something else. Why didnt the doc notice then that she was also about to develop an ear infection?
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amother




Blush


Post  Tue, Feb 05 2019, 2:54 pm
amother wrote:
op here... to be fair, he said he said the $120 service call included a "general diagnostic," whatever that means and however that's the same or different than a "wellness check."


he generally diagnosed that the issue you were having was caused by the thing he fixed - evidenced by the fact that it worked when he left.

"wellness check" - is my cute way of saying 'annual maintenance' - where everything appears to be working - but they do some cleaning and inspections - and you are on your way. If someone did annual maintenance on my system and it broke 5 days later - I'd be annoyed too.... but everything has its limits.
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