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This never should have happened.

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  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
    edited January 2018
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    What could be more deceptive than offering an "$89 Furnace Tune-Up"?
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    It happens all the time. There's a huge company with very distinct trucks, and very aggressive advertizing around here. They've never met a heat exchanger they can't condemn, and always try to scare the H/O of the possible dangers of carbon monoxide-to sell new units.
    Almost of their training is in sales.
    They were also recently sued by the AG for advertising a very low price for drain clearing/cleaning, then find 'big problems' and up sell like crazy. In the lawsuit, of something like 3000 drain cleanings, they couldn't produce one invoice of a customer receiving just a cleaning and no extras for the low price.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Mike Cascio
    Mike Cascio Member Posts: 143
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    The fine was a mere slap on the wrist. Hopefully they comply with the order. What a shame.
    For those who are computer savvy, this site offers a means to locate a reputable contractor. Unfortunately for others, the possibility of ripped off is there.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,115
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    I m amazed it took so long .They tried to scam my parents years ago on there buderus gas boiler saying they should replace it because no one can get parts for them and they where uncommon ,It was a standard CI boiler chimmey vented buderus w honeywell controll standing pilot .I installed it for them myself .My parents where older and had them there to do a easy hot water heater replacement which they did not need and didnt tell me .They installed the tank did a crappy job on not only the sweat joints but just ruined the flue pipe .As soon as i saw the work they had done i called and talk to a supervisor and complained about the shoddy work they did and there advise on the boiler .He was a little stand off until i advised hom that i also was a state nj state lic holder and the tune changed ,i advised them to not contact my parents concerning there heating system, so it seems now just about twice a month i get a mailer from them this has been for about 2 1/2 years .Very funny. These type of bussinesses are a dime a dozen just about all are flat rate they make money they are strickly bussiness and leave there hearts at the curb and alot of time the skill set is all left at the curb ,thank god we all different peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Rich_49Steve_210
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
    edited January 2018
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    This never should have happened.

    Of course not. No fine should have been levied. Who needs all that job-killing regulation? Let's get rid of contractor licensing completely. Hey, why not?

    Yeah, I'm tempting Erin to move this thread to "The Politics of Heating." :)
  • info43
    info43 Member Posts: 51
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    Sad but this happens all the time. Back in November a friend had no heat because water was coming out of their radiators. He called a licensed company in Staten Island. The tech opened the drain, no water came out. He told them the reason water is coming out of your radiators because the return is clogged and the water isn’t getting back to the boiler, it will cost too much to find the clog because we will have to keep cutting the pipe until he finds it. Recommendation was to replace the steam boiler with a hot water system.

    Since I have the same boiler, I stopped by to take a look. He never flushed the boiler, it wasn’t empty but over filled. All he needed was a new LWCO and a cleaning. No issues since.
    Rich_49
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,012
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    clammy said:

    just about twice a month i get a mailer from them

    Well, as long as the mailer is soft, strong and highly absorbent.............. >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RomanGK_26986764589CanuckerSolid_Fuel_Mandelta T
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,481
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    One of my aunts had a good use for that kind of a mailing - she used them to line the bottom of the parakeet cage.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,601
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    I watched my neighbor run to his water meter several times a day for a couple days. The last time, with a towel wrapped around his waist. I asked him what was wrong and he said tub runs full on. cant turn it off, no cut off valve in house so he was using meter valve.

    His plumber quoted him $X5XX.00 to open up the tiled wall to remove and replace fixture with someting modern. Too old to repair (1930). Then my neighbor had to hire some one to repair the wall.

    I asked if I may take a look. He was doubtful but said ok. I brought my sockets, pulled out the valve and replaced the rubber washer. the old washer was in pieces. 40 minutes and it worked. I never seen such a happy person. He has left me a bottle of wine every Christmas for the last fifteen years.

    There are a lot of crooks out there.
    CLambChrisF80Solid_Fuel_Man
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,458
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    That is precisely the problem with companies that use bonuses for sales. Especially if the company has a quota system for the techs. Too much chance for issues like this.
    Seems to me the tech who has the least amount of sales is probably the good tech with scruples and the ability to fix problems.
    i would never want to have to work for a company that has quota's .
    Rick
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    This never should have happened.

    Of course not. No fine should have been levied. Who needs all that job-killing regulation? Let's get rid of contractor licensing completely. Hey, why not?

    Yeah, I'm tempting Erin to move this thread to "The Politics of Heating." :)
    Why would she do that Sal ? This has nothing to do with politics , nor regulation . It has to do with morals , ethics , righteousness , and a want to do the right thing . these guys and a few other companies have been doing this for decades . As a matter of fact , alot of these situations arise and become more prevalent when incentives and rebates come into the picture . These companies offer the services that utilities require for these programs . They game the numbers and make the jobs qualify , so in one regard , regulation created or exacerbated this type problem and these types of predatory contractors .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    j a_2Solid_Fuel_Man
  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
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    cant even begin to tell you how many boilers and furnaces i see in my area piped or ducted wrong, makes it hard to regain trust for the guys who really know our business and want the best for the consumer, all i can say is sooner or later they get my name!!!!!
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
    Rich_49
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
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    Rich said:

    This never should have happened.

    Of course not. No fine should have been levied. Who needs all that job-killing regulation? Let's get rid of contractor licensing completely. Hey, why not?

    Yeah, I'm tempting Erin to move this thread to "The Politics of Heating." :)
    Why would she do that Sal ? This has nothing to do with politics , nor regulation . It has to do with morals , ethics , righteousness , and a want to do the right thing . these guys and a few other companies have been doing this for decades . As a matter of fact , alot of these situations arise and become more prevalent when incentives and rebates come into the picture . These companies offer the services that utilities require for these programs . They game the numbers and make the jobs qualify , so in one regard , regulation created or exacerbated this type problem and these types of predatory contractors .
    I guess my attempt at humor fell flat.

    You guys on this forum have a corner on morals, ethics, righteousness and a want to do the right thing. Unfortunately, you're the exceptions, not the rule. Deregulation would have no impact on Wall contractors, since you'd just continue behaving the same way you always have. However, entities like Perri would be able to engage in the reprehensible practices that article documents with no government oversight and only be brought to justice by individuals taking separate legal actions. Not likely to happen.

    Utility company rebate programs are a separate matter. They aren't regulatory, but instead driven by commercial interests, often related to equipment manufacturer deals and utilities' desire to avoid increasing capacity. My sarcastic comment about deregulation wasn't intended to address them in any way.

    OK, lesson learned. In the future, I won't make any comments that belong in "The Politics of Heating" in a thread on "The Main Wall." :)
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 952
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    We have a nearby outfit who has gone as far as sabotage to sell new. Once call you guys could relate to is them telling a lady that she had a crack in the heat exchanger and CO is pouring into the house. Boiler that is. Tech sent out isn't greatest on boilers but calls and confirms that if there was a crack in the heat exchanger, WATER would be pouring out. Yup. No water, no crack!
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,968
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    Regulations are at best the Minimum requirements. In reality Regulations without enforcement are worthless. Unfortunately that's where were at today. We have all seen the poor and what were they thinking work taking place in homes today. I would guess over 1/2 of the contractors care more about the all mighty dollar then the care and comfort of the customer. It is a sad state of affairs indeed. Mistakes will and do happen. How those mistakes are dealt with separate the good from the bad.

    Consumers need to stop shopping by Dollar amounts and start shopping by Value of Services.
    CLambratio
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
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    Why do they always pick on old people, old people are smart. They knew that got stiffed they just don't want to fight with the Co. easier just too not call them back. But they will tell everyone they got stiffed and one of those everyones will call the right guy and the the fan and the other stuff meet. Payed 100 grand and did nothing wrong. Yea right.
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    ^ they prey on the old because many of them aren't up on tech, etc... and don't have the capacity to verify and call BS on what they're told.
    I took my mom's credit card away when she hit 90yo because I knew it was just a matter of time before she eventually got tricked into giving it to a phone scammer. It was bad enough when someone sold her a gym subscription (they told her it was a health plan supplement @ $49/mo) at 89yo... I was able to cancel that only losing a few months of $49 payments.

    You would be amazed at the number of phishing/scammer calls the elderly get every day! It's not only criminal, but a sad commentary where scammers prey on the weakest members of society.
    Rich_49CanuckerRomanGK_26986764589Zman
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,675
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    It's not that old people aren't quite as sharp as they used to be. Sometimes that's so; sometimes not. But part of it is that we were brought up in a very different society. Oh there were con men and people of low character (as an aunt of mine used to say), but the overall drives weren't as intense to provide and get money at whatever cost to others. Or so it sometimes seems to this old geezer...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    Many years ago I complained about crooks in business. Without batting an eye,my Daddy replied, "Well, Joey,to earn money honestly is not so easy".

    Frankly I worry about how you nice honest guys stay in business. Not kidding. I stopped providing free estimates to strangers decades ago.
    JohnNY
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Retired and loving it.
    Mark EathertonnewagedawnCLambIronman
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,658
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    This event is not uncommon to commission-based companies. If the company is not well managed with reviews of all work sold, or if the company does not have a skilled field manager to stay on top of the tech's approach, then bad stuff happens. If training simply involves up selling, rather then an ethical approach to repairs or sales, guess what? There will always be those who want to violate the customers confidence because of greed and lack of ethics.
    I once worked directly for George Brazil at his Seattle branch. He was the largest residential plumber in the US with over 600 trucks running in his various west coast franchises. My first job was to handle 173 attorney general complaints against the company. I handled all of them, mostly by giving money back. George was a business genius but had a hard time understanding why someone would do "bad work" or bilk the customer.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    It's a business, and as such it has to be profitable in order to stick around. Knowing your direct cost of doing business is a must if you are to succeed in business. Finding plumbers who know how to "sell" is nearly impossible to find, so these companies hire sales people, and teach them how to plumb.

    Sell, sell, sell is pounded into their heads by ownership on a daily basis, and additional incentive is provided in allowing commissions and spiffs. It's a great business plan provided that it isn't taken advantage of, which it is on a daily basis. Sales technician needs new tires, so he slips in a few "extras" to make the money they need. It's human nature, if given the opportunity.

    These folks deal on a flat rate basis, with many of their labor rates well north of $150 per hour, with some approaching $350/hour. But they don't (can't) disclose that to the consumer. If they do, they won't get the job.

    I used to work for one of the biggest flat raters in Denver, and quit due to the pressure and tensions. We NEVER discussed our labor rate with the consumer and were told to just tell them that "We don't charge by the hour, we charge by the job, and regardless of whether it takes me one hour or 8, the charge is the same..." It worked for the most part.

    I understand the business model they are supporting, but I truly believe they need to make certain their employees are ethical, as previously noted, requiring constant review of work performed to make certain that they are being honest and ethical in the field. That is a challenge all to itself. Without seeing the actual work scene, it is impossible to determine wether or not they are acting ethically in the field.

    And then there is the plumber to supervisor ratio.... Out of control everywhere, and the states keep looking the other direction.

    Rant off...

    ME

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Paul PolletsZman
  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
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    i have a saying on my van, " the PAIN of a bad install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price" but as we all know most could care less about the single most important thing in your house besides the people who live there and most just want a cheap price, so can i say they get what they pay for and again sooner or later they get my name,lol
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,115
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    In reality its just a rearing of greed by all concerned from the owner to the employee ,either way its hard to run a bussiness without making money and covering overhead and keeping your employess employed and happy instead of wandering to what may or not be greener grasses.I once many years ago applied to work at a flat rate phvac company i was so turned off after about 1 hr of there bs that even though i was offered a job at a good hourly rate i turned it down , skill set of workmanship and mech ability was not what they where looking for it was about getting a foot in the door and sell all sorts of useless service plans and additinal services most of which included nothing just a look see to dupe em for more work .Aside from hr rate they had all sorts of bs including 1 st teir pay which it seems no one could ever recieve being they would cut hrs and pull u off any job that would allow you to get there even if you sold the job amazing right . Fuel charges for truck use and of course the strip checking of truck inventory.I recently saw it being conducted at one companies shop ,they stripped the van down and made sure everything that is listed as stock is such .I know that is normal for these guys but in the 30 years +of working in the phvac field no place i ever worked did this i guess we got payed well and no one ever had to steal or moonlight to make ends meet u got paid well enough ,plus we where mech not salemen . I knew some one who did some time there and moved on .Even funnier is they called me for about 1 1/2 years inquiring if i would reconsider going to work for them each time i said no and asked to please stop calling ,they finally stopped .I have seen plenty of there work totally overpriced and totally crappy installs most looked like a ho or novice did at best ,every job i have seen where all retro fit installs and replacement ac /heating no boundries on what they can sell i m pretty sure they can t read installation instruction either but thats not limited just to them .I blame the owners for breeding that type of bussiness if they wanted easy money they should have chose there craft differently and went to college and wall street and be a crook of a different sort ok done w my rant peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Rich_49Ironman
  • BobZmuda
    BobZmuda Member Posts: 23
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    This stuff happens every single day. They need to go after the likes of Mr. Rooter, Ben Franklin Plumbing, and Roto Rooter too. FYI I believe every one of those companies also has an HVAC division practicing the same ripoff techniques.

    Key clues that you're being ripped off:

    By "the book" pricing
    Advertises "no overtime charges" (but std rates are double anyone else's)
    Trips your relief valves and "exercises" all of your emergency shutoff valves. I.e. those cheap brasscraft ones with the plastic valve stems that are guaranteed to leak.
    Offers a free plumbing checkup at no charge! Wowee, what a deal.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    Were CONtractors with emphasis on the con, hmmmm!
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,458
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    "Trips your relief valves and "exercises" all of your emergency shutoff valves. I.e. those cheap brasscraft ones with the plastic valve stems that are guaranteed to leak."

    Sorry but that is something everyone should do on a regular basis. If you "exercise" them regularly, they don't get a buildup and get stuck closed. If they are that cheap that they leak, they should be replaced.
    Rick
    RomanGK_26986764589delta TMad Dog_2Canucker
  • kjl520
    kjl520 Member Posts: 10
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    Most of the complaints I run across are usually from Old Peoples children. Who don't want their inheritance used up with something as small as heat for their parents. I have become pretty good at explaining things to where they cant have any real complaints. I also take pictures of everything.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,255
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