I invariably get a number of calls each year from HO's who had hired another service company, that eventually offered an "evaluation" the HO didn't want to hear...like, "You need a new system"...I even have a lot of my regular customers tell me, "I'm afraid I may need a new system this time".
The first, maybe the obvious, thing to keep in mind is, there are essentially two categories of service companies: those who like to "fix" and those who prefer to replace. And the first order of business is to try to determine which category of service company you're dealing with...
You should know and remember, most anything can be fixed. I fix stuff every day...I fix a lot of stuff the other guy said wasn't worth fixing, or was too old to fix, or couldn't be fixed...
The normal process that takes place on a service call, requires the repairman to initially determine what the system is, or isn't doing, then determine why. And most times, a competent service person can reach a diagnosis, or at least, a preliminary diagnosis, in 15 minutes, or less (that's assuming the equipment is easily/readily accessible). And, generally speaking, if the tech starts out appearing to perform some diagnostic procedures and eventually says, "Here's the problem, this is what it'll take to fix it, and this is what it'll cost", he (she) is probably in the fix-it business.
If the process goes in a different direction, he/she (or the company) may be in the "replace it" business. As stated previously, most anything can be repaired...don't forget that.
There can be circumstances favoring replacement...high dollar costs to repair an old piece of equipment, and occasionally, the unavailability of an OEM part, requiring some major retrofit procedures to accomplish a repair. But those situations can easily be exaggerated, beyond "reasonable and customary". And, you should still be provided with "options", IMO.
If you're not interested in purchasing new equipment, and don't receive any options, don't make any hasty decisions...get another opinion.
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