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Cat Toys Aren’t the Only Way to Take Advantage of a Customer …

July 20, 2011 | CARE Heating and Cooling

Here is a perfect example of how we don’t treat our customers.

A news outlet in Florida recently reported on an HVAC company that called an elderly woman to set up an A/C check.  The woman’s daughter, who handles her mother’s affairs, told the company they didn’t want the inspection.  But the company continued to call and eventually set up an appointment with the elderly woman … an appointment that led to a questionable $1,655 bill, a cancelled check, a lien, and a lawsuit (The Florida company has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau).

Beware … there are HVAC companies in Columbus that belong to the same professional organization that this Florida company does and cat toys aren’t the only way to take advantage of a customer.

Here’s the full article –

A $30 offer to inspect her air conditioning unit turned into a $1,655 bill and then a lawsuit for 79-year-old Mary Hession of St. Petersburg.

Diane Vaughan, Hession’s daughter, said World Class Heating and Cooling Inc. of Clearwater started calling her mother in February to set up an appointment.

The company had inspected Hession’s five -year-old unit on two other occasions in 2009.

But earlier this year, Vaughan, who lives with her mother, said she told World Class she wasn’t interested.

“They were calling nonstop, relentlessly, like everyday, sometimes twice a day. They asked for Mary and I said, ‘Well, Mary is not here and we take care of these matters, me and my husband,’ ” Vaughan said.

Hession is under care for a stroke and has difficulty with memory and some cognitive functions.

World Class president Tom Pursley said his company has 16 service representatives that call to drum up business. But he denies his company repeatedly called Hession.

“There are thousands of air conditioning companies out here. They think we’re calling them everyday five times. When I call you up, 9 times out of 10, you don’t even hear who I am,” Pursley said.

World Class did reach Hession and arranged for a technician to inspect her air conditioner on March 2.

“For 30 bucks, they said they would come out to check it,” Hession said.

Vaughan said she was not aware of the visit.

According to the World Class invoice, the inspector found mold and bacteria growing in Hession’s air conditioning system. He recommended installing an ultraviolet light to help kill the mold. He also suggested cleaning the condenser, then pulling and cleaning the blower wheel motor and sanitizing the unit. The cost: $1,655.

Hession paid World Class up front. Five days later, they did the work.

Vaughan said she was furious when she discovered what had happened.

“I can’t believe that something can cost this much, especially when the [air conditioning] was working fine. We’ve had no mold problems,” she said.

Hession’s family stopped payment on the check.

Two weeks later, World class filed a lien against Hession’s condo, then sued her for cancelling the check.

“All it takes is for a neighbor, a daughter, a relative up north, to come in and say, ‘Oh my god,’ and then we’re bad guys,” Pursley said. “This is just ridiculous.”

Vaughan contacted 8 On Your Side, complained to the Better Business Bureau, and to Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services.

Investigator Victor Routenberg says Justice and Consumer Services has received about 20 complaints against World Class since 2008.

In small claims court in Clearwater on June 24, Judge Myra Scott McNary found that World Class did not send a letter to Hession 30 days before the hearing as required by law. The judge dismissed the case.

You can access the full article as posted on tbo.com here.



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