AC work with no auth

7 Replies

First time poster, but I regularly listen to the podcast. 

Last week, I hired a reputable AC company to check on an outside AC unit that was cutting off repeatedly. Capacitor was bad and I authorized replacement. This week, the same unit wouldn’t turn on. Technician had tenant call me to tell me electrician would be needed as the unit wasn’t getting power but the breaker was fine - problem was somewhere in between. I then received a call from the tenant that the technician said to wait, he thinks he found a problem in attic. As it was the end of the day, I thought nothing of not getting a return call - figured it was something simple. 

Called the company office this AM and was told that a breaker was replaced in attic and then the condenser motor was replaced. I almost fell over when I asked the price and she stated it was $800+. I gave zero authorization for this and would not have proceeded without a second quote. I’ve been waiting on a response from the owner. 

Just received an email with invoice that says they gave me the discount as though I’m a vip customer - a $200ish discount, and that the owner will discuss with the employee. What recourse do I have on this? A $600 bill still seems very unreasonable for work I didn’t authorize. 

If you did not authorize the repair, then ask them who authorized it and show you the authorization. If you did not authorize the work, he has the right to remove the installed parts and return your system back to the way it was found. You can not unjustly gain this transaction.

The circuit breaker costs $10 
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-Homeline-30-Amp-2-Pole-Circuit-Breaker-HOM230CP/202353325

The motors vary between $75 and $110

Assuming the repairs were not authorized, make him a deal. You will pay for the parts + a$100 for labor or he can remove the parts, and return your old parts.

If he is able to show you authorization and your state does not require a written estimate and approval, then accept this as an educational experience and move on.

@Katherine Walker They were wrong for not getting your authorization before repairing. But by calling another reputable company, you would not have saved any money, plus you would have had to pay the first companies trip charge /service fee. @Jeff Willis might have gotten a motor for his Goodman unit(cheap unit) for $75 . But a condenser fan motor can easily run into the 1000s. Easy. I would be thankful its fixed, you have a happy tenant, and 1 less headache to deal with. Maybe even let AC company know you wont be using them again. If you want the dirt cheap prices tho, you need to employ your own HVAC tech.

@Katherine Walker for the work you got done (at least in my area) 600 bucks is pretty reasonable.

I just had an AC problem. Technician goes out. First problem is tenant isn’t home (they were aware of this), and their alarm goes off. (No one knew about the alarm). After the tenant is contacted and shows up, the tech finds out the AC is running. Tenant paid someone to fix it.

I get billed the unnecessary service call charge. Cost of business sometimes

@Katherine Walker

Do you know what the trip charge and hourly rate is? Do you know how long the tech was there diagnosing the problem? Do you know what type of unit we are dealing with, did the tech use expensive OEM parts, or were they aftermarket.

My school has an account with TRANE, Johnstone and several other big name companies, have done several hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of equipment purchases in my ten years at the company. I got quoted $400 for an OEM and $250 for an aftermarket condenser motor today.

Ask for a detailed bill, and talk to your tenant about future authorization. If decide to use the company again, speak with the owner about future authorization, and “quotes” as well.......ALWAYS ASK FOR A QUOTE, you will still pay a trip charge, but it will be added in to the final cost, if you allow the tech to perform the job.

That $600 bill is reasonable , since that AC company took care of it , you may want to build on that relationship   just let them know next time to get an authorization first before getting it done. I can assure you , an AC guy is one trade you will call multiple times in a year with 8 units. If you built that relationship with them, they will give priority to your calls, specially during summer when every AC guys are busy. I would even have them do an annual cleaning and check up to build that relationship with them , it may be an extra expense but Extends the life and reliability ofAC units. With them doing this annual service , in most cases they will give you good discount on future repairs. Just think that part of that 600 is a membership fee for VIP AC service , it is a write off anyway on your taxes or any maintenance expense for that matter.