Affordable Water Heaters
Saturday, March 03, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I had a bad experience yesterday with Affordable Water Heaters of San Carlos, CA.
At 7AM, I called the company, because their sticker was on the heater (I incorrectly assumed they had installed it), made an appointment for between 2PM and 5PM.
I called at 4:45PM to find out when they would be here, and was told that they had lost the appointment. I was speaking with Jerry (he wouldn't give his last name) who said he was the owner. I asked what they wanted me to do, assuming that they would either send someone out, or help me find another repair company to deal with the problem. The owner said he couldn't do anything, and suggested I call around, maybe another company could send someone out. I asked repeatedly why he thought another company would be able to do what he wouldn't. He hung up. I called back, he hung up again.
I called a few other repair companies, and none of them could come out until the weekend and all wanted to charge extra for weekend service. I called Affordable back, spoke with Jerry again, and told him what they said, and again, he said he wouldn't do anything to help. He said quite a few times they had no record of me calling, I asked each time why he thought I cared. I asked for his last name, he wouldn't give it.
I recorded their hold-message, which ironically tells you how important water heaters are (I know!) and how much they care, and how professional and responsible they are. That I had enough time to think of recording it and actually do it gives you some idea how much time I spent on hold.
I called back yet again and spoke this time with a guy named Dan, who found that they had a cancelled appointment, and could send someone out right away (this was at 5:45PM). Around 10PM, after waiting eight hours, 15 hours after I called, the repairman arrived, immediately fixed the heater. I tipped the guy $20 for coming out so late and paid the $69 service charge.
Net-net: Use this company as a last resort. They lose appointments, and don't take responsibility for their mistakes. The owner is incredibly rude. Not a company I would trust with my time in the future.
Postscript: The SF Chronicle did a story about the company and their stickers, they hung up on the reporter, David Lazarus, several times before talking with him, so I guess it's not just customers they dislike. According to the Chron, the president of the company is Lee Roux, not "Jerry."
Postscript #2: He hung up on KGO's reporter too. What a company.