Slomins / poor customer service
I've been paying an annual fee of approximately $125 (it goes up year-to-year) to slomins for a maintenance contract on the central ac system that I purchased from them about 8 years ago. I was encouraged to "sign up" by the sales rep who assured me (verbally) that by doing so, I would be "protected" in the event that there was ever a problem with the system — that slomins would send someone out right away to fix it for a reduced labor fee and no charge for parts. He seemed like an honest man, so i've been paying the annual fee every year for 8 years.
I turned the system on for the first time this year and it did not respond. So, I called slomins, confident that they'd send someone quickly to check things out. I had heard about their reputation for poor service, but, I thought I was in a good position and that they'd be pleased to help a regular customer who purchased both a heating system, central air conditioning system, and above-ground oil tanks from them, not to mention my ongoing oil and maintenance contracts.
"i'm sorry sir, but your maintenance contract doesn't start until april 15." what do you mean? It's april 7 and you're not going to send someone because it's not april 15? I've been paying the annual fee every year for 8 years. "the contract is only from april through october sir, did you read your contract?" read my contract? Why would anyone have to read to find that an "annual fee" is only for semi-annual service?? Besides, the sales rep made no mention of the april-october clause.
"i'm sorry sir. We can send someone out on june 17." are you kidding? Why have I maintained this service contract every year if you're not going to honor it? "i'm sorry sir, but if you read your contract you'd see that it's from april till october. We can't send someone out until june as we're all booked up. And the service fee will be $169 per hour unless you update your service contract."
So you want me to pay you over $125 again for maintenance of my system, but i'll have to pay additionally for the actual work to get it going? And how much will that be? "if you update your service contract now, that's $129 per hour."
This is outrageous! Let me speak to your supervisor, please. A rather pompous sh gets on the phone and says, "i'm sorry sir, is there a problem?" yes, there is... I've been paying a maintenance fee for 8 years on the system I purchased from your company. Today is the first time i've had a problem and your employee says you can't come out until june. "that's right sir, did you read your contract?" i'm not looking at my contract, i'm asking for service as i've been paying a maintenance fee annually for 8 years. "sir, if your read your contract, you know that service is only from april 15 through october." listen, she already told me that. I need you guys to come out and figure out what's wrong. Can't you come any sooner? "we really are booked through june, sir." you mean to say that the maintenance fee i've been paying you all these years doesn't mean anything? "sir, did you read your contract?" enough about the contract already! After few explicatives, I hung up.
I called a private a/c repair company who arrived in 45 minutes and fixed the problem in about an hour. The fee was $85.
My relationship with slomins is up in a few months when I finish paying off my heating system. That will be that.
They really don't care how long you've been a customer (8 yrs), how much business you give them, (oil contract, heating system, central air, maintenance contracts for everything), but they do seem to enjoy giving you the shaft every chance they get.
Sure, it's all spelled out in the contract. Customer service employees seem well trained to repeat over and over, "i'm sorry sir, did you read your contract?" pardon me for putting my trust in a company (and the verbal assurances of the sales rep) for customer service when I really needed it.
In fact, this is not the first issue i've had with slomins like this. Similar "customer service" experiences have occurred before. But those are stories for another time.
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