Thursday, August 04, 2005

Oh, the Irony of a Name! Service Time Air Conditioning

Long story short, our AC unit went out on us last Tuesday. Mind you, we are in Phoenix, Arizona and have a two year-old son. It has been hot here lately, to say the least. A record twenty-plus people have died from heat-related causes over the last couple of months alone.

We contacted Old Republic, our home warranty company, in order to get this fixed. I knew that when they told me they would notify the company they used (Service Time Air Conditioning-Heating-Appliance, located at 2908 W. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ, #602 298 1633) - and that said company would be getting in contact with me within a half an hour, and that it was only after my calling them after over an hour of not hearing from them - I should be worried.

First off, they weren't even able to get a technician out to look at the unit until Friday, the fourth day after they got my work order. "But sir, we're extremely busy now!" Blah blah blah. I'm sorry, but if you can't handle the normal summer conditions for the area you operate in, in a timely manner (especially in cases where people are dying), then maybe you should rethink your business methods. And so I paid the forty dollar deductible to the technician just to have him spend five minutes on my roof looking at the AC unit. No money, no service. In this case - Some money, hardly any service. But money is the oil that lubes the machine of this society, as we all know.

I call as the tech is leaving, and Service Time (oh, the irony of a name!) says that they will call to get authorization right away from Old Republic for payment for parts, and will call me as soon as they hear anything. This is around one PM, Friday afternoon. I wait...and wait...and wait...until about four PM comes around, and I call them. Notice how not once, so far, have they called me to update me, but it has always been me having to call them for status updates? Long story short again, and they basically say, "Our person is on the phone with Old Republic right now, we'll call you to let you know we have authorization." I worry that it's close to five PM, their closing time, but for some reason have faith in Service Time. After all, they told me they are open Saturday, and can order the part then if Old Republic is slow.

And I am punished for my faith.

No call from them Friday evening, and so I wait, hoping they will call me Saturday morning. Saturday rolls around, and we're on the fifth day of living with family. I wait a good hour after Service Time's opening hour, and still no call from them. So, once again, I call them. They say they are waiting for authorization. I'm completely confused by this point about the whole process, and call Old Republic. I tell them that Service Time said they talked to you last night to get authorization. Old Republic tells me, "We don't talk to them on the phone. They fax us all the information, and it probably just hasn't reached our system yet as it is probably in the mail room still." I know now that one of the two parties is not being quite honest with me.

And yet again, long story short, I argue with people on the phone from Service Time, trying to figure out just how in the hell their whole business works; with all it's authorizing (it turns out that sometimes "authorization department" means Service Time's, and other times when they say "authorization department", they mean an authorization dept. at Old Republic, lol), checking, calling-back, etc. Old Republic ends up calling Service Time directly, and gives the authorization. That was simple...why didn't that just happen Friday? Yay! So I'm happy now, ready to have the part ordered and installed! But, ahhh, the catch. Wouldn't you know it, but the ordering dept. at Old Republic isn't open on the weekend! Service Time says they'll call me first thing Monday morning when they hear from Old Republic that the part has been ordered. Why all the authorizing, etc. if Old Republic is the one that orders the flippin' part?

Monday morning, day seven, counting the first day this happened, as it was the morning when the call went in. Service Time opens at eight AM. Nine AM comes, and nothing. Ten AM, nothing. Well, they must be waiting for Old Republic. I call Old Republic at around ten thirty AM, and they inform me that they ordered the part a couple hours prior. I call Service Time, and they have it in the system. Why they didn't call me, I'll never know. Oh, wait, I do know why! It's because they are Service Time! That's the only reason...they are what they are: a company lacking any sort of customer service ethic or ability to promptly handle business. So the part is due Wednesday they say. I ask, "When will it be installed?"

They reply, "We'll set up the appointment when it arrives. We can't do anything else until it gets here."

"Well, what is the average time it has been taking?"

"It varies sir, we are very busy."

"Okay, okay. Look...say it were to arrive today, when would it be put in", I question in a frustrated tone. How hard is it for them to give me an answer?

"Well sir, if it arrives early Wednesday morning, we can put it in that day. If not, we should be out Thursday to put it in."

Ahh! An answer! Finally! Now I wait some more. Living with family is fine enough, but being out of your home is only endurable to a point, the arrival of which causes everything non-stressful to become so. Every morning my wife struggles to get ready, and that's hard to watch. I really wish we were home!

So now, for those of you whom can see a calendar or, unlike me, are constantly aware of what day of the week it is, you are probably aware that today is Thursday.

"Well," I hear you asking, "what happened?" I will get to that shortly. In fact, I'll get to that now.

I called Wednesday morning (day nine) and they hadn't heard anything or gotten their shipment. I waited, and called again around three PM. They had trucks there, and were processing the parts, and would call me when they were done. Remember, they close at five Pm. I called again at four thirty, and they said they were almost done. I called at four fifty, and the machine picks up. I called again at four fifty five, and five ten PM, and was again answered by a robot.

So here we are, on Thursday. I call them this morning, first thing, at around eight forty-five, giving them some time to call me first. This, of course, never happened. They say they are in the process of calling the people who's parts have come in, and I will hear from them within half an hour. I hour, and then call them. They now say I will get a call in a few minutes. I wait...another hour, and then call them again.

"Sir, I understand your frustration (is she sitting in a cool place, and living in her own house? then no, she doesn't understand at all.), but we have a huge workload and have many calls to return. Can you please hold?"

And so, after five minutes of the Almighty Musak, she informs me that the part will be installed SATURDAY between eight AM and noon. I am astounded, of course, at the prospect of waiting another two days. I remind her that they told me it would be installed the same day if it arrived early enough. She says that because of the high rate of business, they can't get out earlier than Saturday. After I get off the phone, I remember that on Monday they told me it would take a day. If they are suddenly more busy than they were on Monday, wouldn't my order be ahead of those that popped up between Monday and Thursday? I guess not. In any case, I call and lodge a complaint with Old Republic, who is full of apologies of course, but no solutions. They say that in the future, if I have problems like this, that I should inform them so they can offer me other options. I remind them that I asked if there was another company I could go with, after that first day when Service Time didn't contact me, and that the representative said, "I'm sorry, but that is the company we use in your area. There are not other companies you can use."

Did I mention that a friend's parent's AC went out, for the same problem, and it was fixed in five days? Did I mention that another friend's went out this Monday, and through their warranty company (Century 21), it is going to be fixed this Thursday? Did I mention that I am switching warranty companies when this one expires?

The cost, including the warranty plan price, will be approximately $490 and twelve days. To do it on our own would have cost approximately $700 and probably just six or seven days. I'm torn between which would have been better. So make a long story short, Service Time is anything but a company that provides service on time. That is, of course, unless they mean the time for service is two weeks from now when it could be just a few days.

Image from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surprise....Service Time Air Conditioning is now 'out of business'