The work estimate
On August 10th, 2012 a service tech from ARS named Jamie came to my home at 3274 Andrea Street Apt C in Las Vegas to access why my AC unit wasn't working.
He reported that the compressor had to be replaced and that the compressor was still under warranty. My mother used ARS before she moved to the West side of Vegas. She is still the owner for the condo which I rent. I would only have to cover the labor the tech told me.
He wrote up a flat rate estimate for $1220 plus $49 for the service evaluation.
So I asked the tech how it what was the reason that it would be that expensive and how long the job would take.
He went on to tell me three complete fabrications.
1) He said that they would need to hire a crane to lift the compressor onto the roof. When I asked why they would need a crane and not just haul it up, he told me if they pulled it up on a rope or hoist it might bang into the side of the building and they didn't want to be liable for any damages. He also told me if they did it that way I would have to first sign a waiver releasing them of any responsibility.
2) He went on to add that in the event the coolant in the lines was degraded, additional work would have to be done to flush out the old coolant. He said that would run a bill up to around $2000 and to avoid having some people get hit with such a high bill, they just charge everyone a flat rate that avoids that instance of a huge overcharge for removing degraded coolant. I'm not an AC tech, but it seems to me that any new installation of a compressor would have included removing/recovering the old coolant before installing the new compressor.
3) He estimates the job would take 3-4 hours.
So I agreed to get the work done based on this false information to justify the price.
I helped my Mom cover the bill and gave the tech a check for $489. My Mom paid the balance of $780 with a credit card.
The next morning another serviceman came with a compressor and low and behold, there was no crane. Apparently one wasn't needed and the job was completed in just 1.5 hours, less than half the time I was told it would take. I have no complaint with the repair, just the false claims the first tech used to get me to agree to the work.
I felt that I had be subjected to a scam and unfair business practice by the tech that wrote up the estimate and lied to me about what the work intailed and immediately stopped payment on the check and would lodge a complaint with ARS management.
The day after my repair there was another AC crew on the roof replacing another failed compressor. I asked them how much would the labor be to just replace a compressor. I was given an estimate of $300. I called other companies and the range of estimates was between $300 and $700 dollars.
I thought it was in the realm of possibilities that ARS would be very understanding and might even refund some money to my Mom rather than have me make a formal complaint to the Nevada State Contractors Board, bring up the fact that one of their employees misrepresented himself to a senior citizen to get a contract signed, report it to the BBB and to KTNV that investigates such ripoffs.
I am not sure who I was speaking to at ARS about the cancelled check (I was told it was probably the owner), but he found it hard to belief what I was saying. None of our employees could have ever told you a crane was needed for the job ... we never use cranes for that.
So my reply was, why don't you ask the employee and get back to me?
I went on to add that if I knew a crane wasn't needed, that the job would take half the time I was told and the matter of degraded coolant flushing adding to the cost just wasn't true, I might have found their estimate a bit too high and shopped around for another company and a better price.
Guess what he told me?? It is our experience that when its hot people will just go ahead and get the work done rather than shop around. Isn't this blatantly admitting that they expect people to pay anything just to get the work done? Isn't this a predatory practice when dealing with seniors? Just tell them a bullshit story about the work because they're suffering in the heat.
So it was my expectation when we got off the phone that he was going to do just that and investigate my claim. But that person never bothered to report back to me about my claim. How could we settle this if he never bothered to talk to his employee? After he failed to respond I left messages for him to call me. He never did. I assumed the silence to followup and get back to me meant that he either knew or found out that I was telling the truth and had a valid complaint.
So I thought that was the end of it until I got a bad check notice from the DA. Rather than deal with my complaint and come to a fair resolution, he decided to file a complaint against me as if it was my intent to defraud him. This just isn't the case and he knows that. It just seemed easier to him to come after me rather than doing the right thing and resolving this fairly.
He was not justified in doing that because we were still in a discussion and I was waiting for his reply and a mutual resolution. His filing charges against me just shows how unethical this company really is. I think these people are a bunch of crooks and don't expect people to stand up to their unethiocal business practices.
I hope action news also exposes them for their crimes. They certainly deserve it.