The A/C unit in my rental froze up one day during peak summer (in July). I was out of town and I authorized my tenants to contact an AC repair company as my regular AC guy had retired.
The AC repair company sent a technician who was not experienced. He said that the AC filter was very dirty and replaced it. Total charge paid for changing the AC filter was $239 ($89 trip fee + 2 hrs labor @ $75 per hour) which I reimbursed to the tenants.
Please note a Frozen AC unit once thawed will start to work again until it goes through a state that would cause it to freeze again.
Three weeks later, the AC froze up for the 2nd time and my tenant said that we can call the same company again as it has been less than a month and the same issue has reoccurred. My tenant told me that the AC guy apparently told him that there would be no charge this time.
Since, I was in town I went to the rental property when the technician was present. Again, he did all the diagnostics and was on the phone with his boss most of the time. I was convinced that this guy lacked any experience. He spent 2 hours trying to find the root cause as all the diagnostics appeared to be OK.
He did not give us any receipt when we left. 4 days later, the tenant receives a bill via email for another $239 with the recommendation to replace the AC damper units. Please not they still did not find the root cause for the AC freezing up.
The tenants immediately forward the email to me and ask me to talk to the owner. I was in shock as I was under the impression that there would be no charge (as stated by my tenant) as they did not find the issue. I contacted another AC company who came 2 weeks later (the AC unit freezing up was still happening from time to time) and was able to identify the issue for a fee of only $50. I find it really unreasonable that the 1st AC company is charging me almost $500 and all they did was replace an AC filter. I wanted to contest the 2nd charge of $239 as my repeated attempts to reason with the owner failed.
The AC company is now threatening my tenants with going to collections and they were the ones who called the company. My tenant is scared that they will go to collections and are threatening me to pay the 2nd bill of $239 or they will pay and deduct it from next month's rent.
I spoke to my tenants and asked them to tell the AC company that I gave them verbal authorization to contact them and that the issue regarding payment is between myself (Owner) and the AC company.
I don't want my tenants to be involved and I want to contest this charge with the AC company. My tenants are scared and don't want to help me.
Would a letter of authorization to the tenants be enough so that they can state that the issue is between the Owner and the repair company if it goes to collections or small claims court. Are there any other options that will exempt the tenant in this issue so that the issue is only between the Owner (myself) and the AC repair company ?
I wouldn't sweat it. If the A/C company sent it to collections, you could contact the collections company and explain that you are the responsible party. They would work with the A/C company to place a collection against you.
Personally, I would write a letter to the company explaining your position as the owner and contesting the charges. A technician should have known right away if a dirty filter was the cause and it shouldn't have take $259. When they told you they would come back for free, they should honor that.