Don’t be Bullied In Your Own Home
Don’t be bullied in your own home! Somewhere along the line, the service industry has changed to a sales industry. More and more, you hear stories about a plumber, air conditioning or heating contractor called to fix something minor or give a tune up. Then the customer is left petrified and overwhelmed about the current state of their system, which has been working fine. They think, “I don’t know anything about a furnace, maybe he’s right and I should get it replaced instead of paying
$2,300 for repairs…” And, “Wow, it is really nice that he made a special deal with his boss for me to get this installed tomorrow.”
You are not an expert. Perhaps you’re a single mom on a budget or a busy executive with no background in plumbing. Maybe you’re just a homeowner who was looking for a small repair or maintenance. No matter who, you were counting on the Technician to fix the problem and provide the service you requested.
The Unfortunate Truth
Many “technicians” are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They come with their certifications, uniforms, booties, but are trained to scare you and sell you new equipment. They are paid on commission and have weekly quotas of sales and service call fees. The more the total on your invoice, the better, necessary or not.
Furnaces and air conditioners can last over 20 years, depending upon brand and maintenance. We have heard from dozens of innocent homeowners who requested simple service. Then they have been scared or bullied into replacing hot water heaters, entire HVAC systems and taking expensive “platinum” protection plans that renew with high fees.
How does this happen? You see ads, commercial, billboards, buses and mailers offering a “$59 tune up,” “$99 drain cleaning,” “21-point inspection this year and another one free next year”…You want to take advantage, but don’t realize you have invited a bully into your home. You are also going to pay for your own estimate on equipment or repairs you probably don’t need. Then, you are made to feel pressured, uncomfortable and scared to death you are being poisoned by carbon monoxide. You may be told your pipes will burst or will soon have no heat in the dead of winter. This is not how it should be.
A true service company should offer you just that. Service. They should fix what is wrong, or take care of exactly what you are expecting and paying for. If they need to, they should make recommendations but always explain the problem and offer options. Their job is to try to fix the problem first, and serve you as their customer–not pad their own pockets with commission for the ticket.
Alpine is a family-owned and operated company and has been serving Central NJ for over 45 years. We have thousands of satisfied customers who have been dealing with us, and many whose children are now using us as well. Rather than emulate some of our successful competitors and use our Service Techs as salesmen, we offer our customers the best service and integrity, while there is still some left in the industry.
Here are some best practices to protect yourself from being taken advantage of in your own home:
Don’t be fooled by special pricing for service
If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask in advance if they actually DO the work, or simply just “check” your equipment and then suggest repairs. If it doesn’t seem right, go with your gut.
References, Referrals and Reviews
Take advice from friends and neighbors who have used a trustworthy company. Ask the contractor for references and be sure to go online and check out what other contemporaries have said about the company.
Keep them Honest
Even though they are the expert, don’t take their word as gospel. Don’t allow them to disconnect your furnace in the middle of the night so they can send the installation crew in the morning to get started on the replacement. Especially before you have had time to get a second opinion or change your mind. Get competitive quotes and get a second opinion. You will be glad you did.
Ask questions and do your own research
The internet provides lots of information on equipment and service. Be prepared and don’t let anyone scare you into something or guilt you into making a purchase you do not need.
Just as we instruct our kids to stand up to bullies and report bad practices, you should do the same. Your home is your castle and your domain. No one should rule it or make your decisions about it other than you!