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what do you do when the supply house makes a mistake and and you lose money on a job

mikedo
mikedo Member Posts: 138
long story but i replaced a 30 gallon oil fired water heater tank only today. for a 30 plus year dear friend of mine. he's a barber and lost all his income with this virus also cuts my hair. i never sell the tank only i always buy it complete with burner but i made an exception because of the virus and his finances. it was a thermoflow. there was a sticker on the box saying not to sell it without a control. i pointed that out to there inside sales man and he said i don't need it. 2 controls and 300 dollars later i do. i had already told my friend how much it was going to cost and didn't think it was fair to charge him 300 dollars more for some else's mistake beside he doesn't have the money. i know were not supposed to talk about price but i did the job by myself and charged him 150 dollars for my labor. I'm just tired of paying for else's mistakes. yellow sticker was on box white paper was on water heater.


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Comments

  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    hard part for trying to help a friend.. I always tell them up front if their are any surprises they cover the exact cost. With that said, if you a lot with your supply house, make a fuss with a manager. I've had things covered to keep me happy due to the volume of work we did..
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    if he was working i would have charged him no problem. but I'm not going to take his family's groceries money because someone else can't do their there job.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    mikedo said:

    if he was working i would have charged him no problem. but I'm not going to take his family's groceries money because someone else can't do their there job.

    Which is why people like us are not rich.........
    Rick
    BillyOZman
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    honor and integrity have no place in society anymore. a mans or women,s word and a handshake used to mean something at one time. those days are long gone.
    BillyO
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,173
    I generally look on work for family & friends as basically pro bono, & charge what they can afford, which is often less than my material costs. I would certainly be irritated with the salescritter, though. Shake him down for a hat or something.
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    when i pay 20 dollars for a relief valve a homeowner can buy for 15 dollars on supplyhouse .com. I'm not going to be happy with a 300 dollar hat.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,985
    No good deed goes unpunished...
    See if the supplyhouse can make good on this oversight... People make mistakes.
    Perhaps they can make good w/ a discount on materials down the road.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,879
    mikedo said:

    long story but i replaced a 30 gallon oil fired water heater tank only today. for a 30 plus year dear friend of mine. he's a barber and lost all his income with this virus also cuts my hair. i never sell the tank only i always buy it complete with burner but i made an exception because of the virus and his finances. it was a thermoflow. there was a sticker on the box saying not to sell it without a control. i pointed that out to there inside sales man and he said i don't need it. 2 controls and 300 dollars later i do. i had already told my friend how much it was going to cost and didn't think it was fair to charge him 300 dollars more for some else's mistake beside he doesn't have the money. i know were not supposed to talk about price but i did the job by myself and charged him 150 dollars for my labor. I'm just tired of paying for else's mistakes. yellow sticker was on box white paper was on water heater.


    With that notice Id be screaming up the ladder.

    Grallert
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,398
    I had a similar situation awhile back where they didn't send a remote with a mini split. Complained, they offered to sell me one. I needed it now so I bought it. It wasn't even the right brand. So I complained again and was told they'd take the last one back and I could buy the right one. Ordered it, set it up and I had cooling. Fast forward a month when I needed heat, the remote didn't have a heating mode. For the 2nd time I had the wrong remote and this time they wouldn't take it back because it was used. They still hadn't refunded me from the last one I returned either. Again they offered to sell me the "right" one, which at this point I was livid that they screwed it up 3 times so I did my own research and bought it elsewhere so I knew it would be right. I never did get reimbursed for the first one despite at least 30 phone calls and "oh I'm sorry we'll get that refunded to your card right away", so here I sit with $300 and 20 hours of my time wasted on this disaster, but at least it was installed in my own shop and not a customer's. Not that they care, but they should- that little stunt cost them $800,000 a year in sales they will no longer be getting from me and my coworkers. Fool me once....
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,757
    If you have delt with that supply house a while I would get a face to face with someone. Let the right person know the full story and you will get something, maybe noe $300.00 credit but something. I did a warranty job at Dulles airport for a Carrier through the wall unit because the local Trane dealer would not. Dealer got the job thatb specified Carrier unit for the control tower. It was explained to me that acess would be a problem and Carrier only allowed 3 hours for job. Leaking evap. Got my three hours plus a couple of condenser motors. Let them know that anything will help. It does help if you have a long relationship.
    kcopp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,985
    Bought a Cast iron Williamson oil fired water boiler for a friends son a couple of years ago it was supposed to have a tankless heater. The supply house was specifically told that and supposidly priced it that way. Picked up the boiler and drove out to the job on a Saturday (1 1/4 hour drive) drained and cut the old one loose and lugged it outside put it on my trailer. Brought the new one in and set it on concrete blocks still in the cardboard crate. Un crated it to find no tankless and no opening for a tankless.

    Called the supply house, they were closed but had a few employees there doing inventory, (lucky they answered the phone). Lugged the new one out drove to the supply house picked up the right one and went back and started all over again.

    5 hrs of driving before I got home and a long day. Had to go back Sunday and finish up. Lucky it wasn't the dead of winter.

    My fault for not checking the boiler the first one we picked up, I am usually pretty good about that.

    Can't trust anyone

    And of course they haden't priced it with a tankless so had to pay more $$$$

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,687
    RE Michel always prints out (pdf, email) on every estimate to avoid these types of issues.
    I do ask multiple times on oil fires water heaters. Burner included? Which Aquastat?
    steve
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    I'll play devil's advocate.

    @mikedo, you read the disclaimer. You could have taken 10 minutes to check the Therma-Flow website and saw facts for yourself instead of relying on the counter for answers. We all know half of them aren't that familiar with the stuff they're selling.

    Don't get me wrong. I would have been throwing wrenches. But I would have to look in the mirror to find someone to blame.
    STEVEusaPAZman
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    I got beat up last year was giving a incomplete quote on a job ending up losing a few grand ,grinned and bear it took the lose didn’t complainant and realized I would have to be on the ball a bit more and be a hard w supply house on complete pricing . Usually w oil fired stuff I ve learned if they don’t want a new burner w there new tank or boiler then they need a new contractor . I know most like to save friends And family some money but when it come taking a hit they will have to take the good w the bad unless they like seeing the ugly . As I get older I pass on the friends unless there desperate and in bad shape otherwise I try not to get involved ,only if I know it’s a total freebie in which case I do what I can and that’s that. It seems that when ever I do a freebie I always end up paying w material and bs and money outta my pockets which these days ain’t much ,I was told a look time ago no good deed goes unpunished and it is true today as it was 30 years ago . I really started to think if I was not around they would be paying some one else the real price so why not just pay me ? I guess it’s just human nature to want a deal unfortunately I’m not Monty hall any longer. The funniest part is they ask for a price they don’t like get it half assed done then want you to fix for free this is why I stopped working for friends and acquaintances they all think as contractors that we are rolling in money and can afford the free give away s in time and materials . It’s sad I have many friends who I pass on regular maintaince because they have alligator arms they never reach the check book or pocket . I always Remember as my dad told me for free you can work any where and it has always rang true . I find if your doing work for friends and they won’t pay for all material and are not understanding then I would be personally be done w them period never to be seen nor heard from period and most likely where just user . Live and learn peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    kcopprick in AlaskaBillyO
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,536
    We all learn those lessons. $300 is a tiny hit. The bigger the pain the more you “look” for that issue down the road. I’m sorry you got jammed on this. If you’re a regular customer at the vendor I would think they could cover the costs of the control. If you do this for a living you probably should have trusted your instincts.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    it wasn't a counter man i asked it was an inside sales man with 35 years experience an the companys expert on heating and hot water heaters. if as contractors we need to do the jobs of all the people at the supply house maybe companies should just sell products us directly. also if thermoflow put the explanation on the outside of the box problem would also be solved. so i guess i should call them and do there job also.yes i make mistakes like everyone else but when i do i pay for it. why is it when someone else makes a mistake they want me to pay for it. also doesn't seem to do any good to complain at supplyhouse since no one is ever held accountable for there actions. thanks for listening people i just had to vent a little
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,272
    Did you talk with the manager, maybe they meet you half way on the cost.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    i haven't yet. they were closed on saturday and the have a new manager i don't know well. i used to have the old managers phone number. I'm going to talk to them on monday
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    Could you keep the existing aquastat and change the well?
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,375
    I have had the good fortune of having some very understanding supply houses work with me to get some sort of resolution to this type of thing.
    @mikedo Hit up your supplier or manufacturers rep. again.
    Explain what has happened and ask for there help. They may be able to give you something for your troubles and continued brand loyalty?
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    edited March 2020
    Why didn't you just change the well ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    the supply house expert said he heard they had a problem with the wells i was afraid to try that have something go wrong. i couldn't call them and ask because they were closed. i was thinking maybe they changed to a different well because of the problems.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,375
    Get in touch with the manufacturer. Get them to make good on this.
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    i think its more the supply houses fault for not being knowledgeable on the products they sell. thermoflow did put a sticker on the outside of box and that letter inside. as i said before no one cares because no one is ever held accountable. start making the people who made the mistake pay for and i bet they would do a much better job.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    I understand your doing a good deed , there is really no money involved and your switching out a tank .. swap out the wells from the old tank .
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,562
    Everything is negotiable, Negotiate your best deal and if that doesn't fly notch it down and hopefully reach a settlement. Give some to get some.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    It's best for you and the customer to replace the burner and controls with a new tank .The burner already lived a life .. And you are putting you name on it . Food for thought
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    big ed might want to read the whole post before posting.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    I think I'm worse than @Big Ed . I keep coming back to that giant yellow sticker staring into my eyeballs.
    SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,985
    @mikedo

    Since you pointed this out before/at the time of the sale the supply house should make this right......no questions asked
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    talked to thremo flow you cannot just change the well it will not function properly. also this change occurred more than 3 years ago.
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,398
    I'm not going to name the supplier, but it's a big one with 15 locations and we'd been dealing with them for 30 years. I personally have been buying there for 6 years and had a pretty decent relationship until this fiasco happened. I spoke to everybody in the chain of command, on up to the president of the company and was told the same thing by everyone. Our main salesman, the guy who screwed up the original order and sold me the wrong remote the first time, was told specifically that if this wasn't made right we'd be going elsewhere from that day forth. His response was "I don't care, go ahead". So that's what happened. I will never spend another dime there not because it cost me $300, but because they were unwilling to cooperate. There is no excuse for "customer service" like that.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,687
    I know you can't and probably shouldn't out them publicly (everyone is sue-crazy), but I'd like to know.
    ---
    I'm been very annoyed with situations like this and have severed more than a few business relationships for things just like this.
    There are plenty of places to purchase supplies, both locally and online, and I'm just not putting up with poor customer service anymore.
    There were a few incidents with supply houses going very lean with parts, but are willing to get me one, and try to charge me some pretty high shipping charges. Also supply houses that give me a standard fixed discount over retail, then not wanting to provide that discount for 'special orders', and by special, meaning they aren't stocking the usual parts (or only a few per store). I remember one over the winter (or what passed as winter) where I needed an oil burner nozzle, nothing special, but a nozzle that goes into a furnace they sold me. The manager said I'd have to buy a whole box, can't just get one. I said how bout you buy a whole box and sell me just one, considering you sell the furnace that requires this nozzle. Surely I can't be the only one that's going to need this nozzle, and I really don't need 12 of them...ended up ordering it online.
    I don't mind paying more to get it locally, and have it readily available, but if the supply houses are doing neither, they'll have to understand they'll lose business, and maybe eventually their entire business.
    ---

    With your permission maybe anyone who wants to know can PM you?
    steve
    GroundUp
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,879
    Sad stat of angers but with large chains today that’s becoming the norm.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    When I was a pup, aside from learning, I was a runner. I got my **** handed to me if I came back with something missing because I didn't check the ticket to the items and quantity. Even if something was on backorder, I got the stink eye.
    Well it was handed to me many times, (slow learner I guess) dealing with many suppliers.
    Mistakes? Sure, everyone makes them.
    But I had to own it. And I learned.

    The yellow sign. "WARNING".
    It should've been game over right there. Sorry.
    Zman
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    anyone can pm me. i talked to them today there going to see if maybe they can help me big maybe. i really didn't want to point the guy out because he is a good guy. i found out today that after i asked him about the sticker he did follow up on it and found out what was going on but did not call me to me know what needed to be done would have saved me a lot of stress and money if he did. the truth is no one cares. of course they forgot to write the serial number down of unit they sold me and called this morning to see if i could get it for them.
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 547
    I've been burned by every supplier I can think of at least once over the last thirty plus years. If I cut ties with them, it would have done more harm than good as it would force me to drive out of my way to "show them."

    On some occasions I've talked to the owners or the head guy, in every instance they tried to make good on their mistake. This is especially true if we spend a lot of money at their business over the years.

    Just last week, we were asked to do a long overdue tune-up at a roughly 5500 square foot house that we did a start-up on three years ago. This was the time they allowed us to service this condensing boiler that is the only source for heat and dhw for the house. When we arrived on Tuesday, we figured out why they finally called us, the blower fan sounded like it was going to fail any minute. We called four different local suppliers and oddly (sarcasm), no one stocked the blower. We were told by a local supplier that so and so (forty five minutes away) claims to have it in stock. We call so and so, they do not have it, but they can have it overnighted for us. On Wednesday we show up at so and so, only to find the part did not come on the UPS truck that day. On Thursday so and so calls and tells us the part is in. We drive to so and so, then to the job (forty five minutes in a different direction) and replace the blower. It's bad from the factory-warehouse-basement, wherever it came from. We re-install the screaming blower, call so and so and have them order the blower again. Blower arrives Friday morning, we drive to so and so again, then back to the job site and install blower. System now runs as good as new and customer is very happy with us. By the way, customer has no idea of the headache we just went through.

    How can I possibly charge the customer for all the headaches? How can I afford to pay my tech for all of this wasted time?
    How long will I stay in business if this happens more often?
    What good is it to scream at the so and so supply house? By the way so and so carries more boiler, burner and control inventory in house when compared to any other supplier I deal with in NJ. Incidentally, the manager of so and so started in the business the same time I did, he is probably the most knowledgeable best out there.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,174
    GroundUp said:

    I had a similar situation awhile back where they didn't send a remote with a mini split. Complained, they offered to sell me one. I needed it now so I bought it. It wasn't even the right brand. So I complained again and was told they'd take the last one back and I could buy the right one. Ordered it, set it up and I had cooling. Fast forward a month when I needed heat, the remote didn't have a heating mode. For the 2nd time I had the wrong remote and this time they wouldn't take it back because it was used. They still hadn't refunded me from the last one I returned either. Again they offered to sell me the "right" one, which at this point I was livid that they screwed it up 3 times so I did my own research and bought it elsewhere so I knew it would be right. I never did get reimbursed for the first one despite at least 30 phone calls and "oh I'm sorry we'll get that refunded to your card right away", so here I sit with $300 and 20 hours of my time wasted on this disaster, but at least it was installed in my own shop and not a customer's. Not that they care, but they should- that little stunt cost them $800,000 a year in sales they will no longer be getting from me and my coworkers. Fool me once....

    CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY... THEY CAN CHARGE BACK THE VENDOR IF IT IS RECENT ENOUGH!

    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • mikedo
    mikedo Member Posts: 138
    "if i cut ties with them it would do more harm then good" exact situation I'm in scott. thats why I'm just going to take the loss and move on. thanks for everyones help nice to know I'm not alone
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,543
    Hello, At this point, I'd find out who owns the company and get their mailing address. I'd write up a letter explaining all of this and what you'll have to do if they can't make it right. I'd tell them your ideas on how to fix it and give then a time-frame for a response. Get a return receipt for the letter. Let us know what happens!

    Yours, Larry