It was bound to happen to us..and I'm telling you about it...so you will be armed with the information.
A few months ago I saw a story on television about a scam going around on air conditioner repair men. I thought...hummm maybe that happens in THOSE places..but surely NOT with OUR a/c people...we can trust them!
After all...we have a SERVICE PLAN! As if that gives us security and insulation against scams right? WRONG!
Today we had our semi annual checkup. We have 2 units..one that takes care of our downstairs...a big new honking EXPENSIVE one that we just had installed a few years ago...and that big boy does everything but tucks you in at night!
And the smaller unit takes care of our smaller upstairs and it's been here since the house was built approx. 10 years old.
I don't go upstairs into my studio every day...lots of time I drag my beads downstairs so I can be with the hubs and chat with him as I bead and of course the larger of the two t.v.s is downstairs as is the Tivo machine and easy access to my taped shows. Of COURSE I'm going to be downstairs right?
So I only noticed a day ago when I ran up the steps to shop for beads in my ample supply shelves upstairs that it was hotter than hot. I keep the thermostat warmer up there and then just knock it down when I'm working on a project. Otherwise we'd have the price of the national debt as a monthly utility charge..and if I'm anything I'm frugal during the summer when our gallery sales are slow. I mean REALLY slow!
The only action happening in SW FL in the summer is the landlord gracing your doorstep to pick up his rent...well it's not REALLY that bad...but pretty close. Our customer base drops from 200+ customers a day to 10..or 15...sometimes 20 if you are really lucky. I know..the numbers... I mark those babies as they walk through the door.
But...we were scheduled for our a/c maintenance visit today and of course I volunteered to stay home and make the huge sacrifice of leaving the gallery and working out of the house.
We ALL know I will take whatever excuse I can to skip the tedious boredom of sitting in 4 walls to greet the 10, 15, or maybe lucky 20 customers who straggle in and announce that they 'are just looking'...k...fine...I'm here for your browsing pleasure.
HATE IT...I want to go out and DRAG people into the gallery and get stuff moving..that's my motto go get em and bring em in.
Okay I'm the impatient type..but you know that by now.
Anywho...the a/c guy shows up and I tell him that the upstairs unit doesn't seem to be cooling very well. He opens the door and peers in and goes "AHA...well the unit is FROZEN...then he glares at me...like it's MY fault
I stammer around and tell him that I don't always go upstairs EVERY day and that I do set the thermostat a littler higher...okay...a HECK of a lot higher when the studio is vacant.
I'm not cooling it for the viewing pleasure of...well..the cat goes up there sometimes.
He then frowns at me..and..believe me...I'd be frowning at customers too after making service calls into 200 degree attics in the dog heat days of summer..but hey..he chose this job not me! And tells me the capacitor is cooked and there is most likely a leak in the freon and it's gonna be EXPENSIVE.
Okay this is just too much for me....I've just partially recovered from the heart palpitating money outlay episode at the dentist's office this last Wednesday following the hubs bad news scenario of our duo teeth fixing debt that will drain our precious little pot of funds that we have labored to set aside for a rainy day. I guess teeth debt could be considered rainy day funding fodder...but it's not REALLY what I had in mind for that purpose. I had more like...visit France during the rainy season... rainy day funds in mind.
So I tell the a/c guy that I'm not sure we are even staying in this house...and I don't really want to invest in something that I don't know the future of...but you'll be proud that I spared him the whole sad LONG story of the fight for our life against the evil lender empire..and frankly he wouldn't have been the LEAST bit interested in the first place.
I tell him we have a certain benchmark fix in mind and could he give us a few options to consider?
Okay...he gives us the cheapest option which is close to $400...what the?
and he tells us this is ONLY a band aid and probably money down the toilet..WHAT THE??
That's reassuring...I'm charging you OUT the KAZOO..for basically I don't know...NOTHING!
Option # 2 was close to $600 and this too is a band aid fix..but evidently a stronger band aid..maybe one made out of micro fiber?? But still pretty much useless.
Then Option #3 which was in the $2,000 dollar range..and after that...I pretty much stopped listening. He could have been telling me about his 'save his job and pad his commission story'...I think I nodded off for a minute or two.
I'm telling you things are REALLY slow here during Florida summers...apparently even for the A/C guy.
So I told him thank you VERY much but I'll be getting a second opinion.
THAT got a rise out of him...apparently most customers take the cheapest of the RIP OFF options and feel thankful to be paying the lower of the FOOL's sums.
How DOES this guy sleep at night?
I remembered that we have an a/c business in our business complex where our consignment gallery is located and the hubs is pretty good friends with the owner so why wouldn't we give them a call? Of course we would...immediately if not sooner!
They came right over (it pays to KNOW people...and I'm going to make a bigger effort from now on to KNOW everyone after this little ordeal) and they tell us the guy was in full fledged SNOCKER mode trying to pull one over on his faithful little loyal "SERVICE PLAN" buffered trusting people.
He fixed the A/C with a $15.00 part and said the freon was just fine and that actually in his opinion service plans were just another rip off that the big guys have come up with to rake in more money.
Fair warning...get around and KNOW people...and in the summer I'd start with a few A/C guys!