Called Trane regarding American Standard Freedom 90 Controller Board


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Old 01-08-14, 08:59 AM
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Called Trane regarding American Standard Freedom 90 Controller Board

I contacted Trane customer service today and explained I paid a local Trane authorized dealer/installer to diagnose my American Standard Freedom 90. The controller board needs to be replaced and he warned me that the board might be as high as $1,000 plus labor.

I indicated to Trane that via a quick search of the controller board model number and I found it available new from multiple sources for $99.00

Trane says the installer can charge what they want. I said, not when the temperature is 5 degrees outside they can't.

Should consumers stop buying from units from Trane altogether because they don't have a handle on price gouging during extremely cold weather?

Is there a manufacturer you can recommend where this does not happen for out of warranty work?

When I finally mentioned that since they can't do anything about what thier installers might charge, I asked if the NJ State Attorney General might be able to do something about local price gouging, he hung up the phone.

Alternatives to Trane, Anyone?
 
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Old 01-08-14, 09:22 AM
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Were you price gouged for anything as of yet? What they said is one thing....

Even though they are trane installers your call to this service company was not related it sounds like.. They are an independent company and can charge a reasonable and fair price to make a profit... This was a non warranty call?

Now not saying 1k is not high that you state they said to you.. But they said it "Could" cost that much... Possibly there are other parts involved...

With that said Chris Christie is very strict on price gauging... All you need to do is contact consumer affairs...

Im sure they will only listen if you have only actually been ripped off...

Here is where you file a complaint...

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
 
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Old 01-08-14, 09:32 AM
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I asked them to order the part since I have no choice even if I wanted to purchase it myself since I can't get Trane to overnight the part to me like they are doing. All other $99 supplier are via regular mail--pipes and kids might freeze solid before part arrives.

Funny you should mention Chris Christy as I was just reading about what you said. Beware Trane company, you should help your clients not get gouged, by providing some type of response and protection to this type of 5 degrees outside gouging situation.

"Having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey's residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging," said Governor Christie. "We are not asking businesses to function as charities. We require that they obey New Jersey's laws – or pay significant penalties."

Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at (800) 242-5846.

Further digging uncovered this specific number within the same state agency:

For consumers requiring information concerning Contractor complaints contact the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors complaints section (973) 424-8150 prompt #6.
 

Last edited by njinji; 01-08-14 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 01-08-14, 09:40 AM
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Normal markup is from 100% to 200%. I paid around $290 for an igniter module that I probably could have gotten for about $120 online. Couldn't afford to wait and wasn't positive that was the problem.
They have trucks, insurance, overhead, etc...which has to be paid even when they aren't working.

Sounds like the tech was just giving an off the cuff quote w/o actually knowing what the cost would be. Did you get a followup call on the actual cost?
 
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Old 01-08-14, 10:00 AM
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Spoke to them yesterday, and they called today indicating part arrived. A 100% to 200% markup is totally acceptable -- I am a small business owner myself and the markup covers a "ton" of actual and potential expenses, but getting a markup range is the excellent type of advise I was expecting from this forum.

Thank you most kindly. The scheduled time is 3pm to 6:30pm or even much later due to extreme, extreme temps for central NJ last 2 days. *perfectly reasonable*

No mention of the actual materials cost yet. I like to be very polite to everyone at the company since I am a geek as well and like being treated politely myself.

Let see
 
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Old 01-08-14, 10:10 AM
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Well, if they do show up with a $1000 board (can't imagine that would happen) everything is negotiable.
 
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Old 01-08-14, 10:34 AM
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Usually in NJ from my experience , and even with the local poco a board change runs about $700 bucks...

You best off getting the plan the local poco offers IMO if you want that type of insurance... Here in monmouth county its NJNG... Dont know who you have...

Read the fine print on what parts are covered... But then you are paying $20 bucks a month or so extra for this service... So figure if you dont use it how much will it cost in the long run??

You have to figure age of equipment and how often you have failures...

Thats why I said if they just rambled off 1K its not written.. it was a verbal comment...

Here is an example... ( I trust the gas company before I would trust a company)

NJR Home Services (Wall,NJ)

Quick story... My mom had a board failure... Gas company came.. They had no plan.. he told them $750 bucks... He then said here is the part #.. order online.. get the service contract and I will come install it for free when it comes in....... Done!!!!... he was a nice guy....
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 01-08-14 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 01-08-14, 02:06 PM
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Tech spent total of an hour installing the controller and waiting to see how the system worked. Presented bill to us for over $500. We casually asked why the bill had no itemization or details, just a total. He did not know why, so we said we will try to call the office which was closed already, so will try to get an itemization over the phone tommorow after they open.
 
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Old 01-08-14, 02:15 PM
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the bill had no itemization or details, just a total
Thats really not a great sign, not being broken down parts and labor...but not a deal breaker. Your costs out there are higher than here, and my furnace repair was about $350 IIRC.
 
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Old 01-08-14, 02:47 PM
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so had I found a way to overnight the part (pexsupply.com $82.95) and snapped it in myself I would have saved $500

If I were an entreprenuer I would create a plan where my furnace could be 100% servicable by doofus homeowner. Have the controller run linux with internet access and make it virtually impossible for doofus to screw up by displaying a web page for the furnace details and controls.

I mean it is already 2014 and computer scientists in my office are already discussing at the watercoolor how to have linux manage battery backup for sump pumps, affordable gas generator solutions for the next superstorm Sandy, etc.

I digress.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 07:56 AM
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we called to get an itemized bill for the first and second visits but were told by the owner that the hvac industry no longer provides itemized bills

we explained in a very friendly way that as a good consumer we simply try to make sure there is some transparency in what the charge is for. We said, as an example, if a part really only costs $80 and you wish to charge $500 for labor, that's your business but at least each charge is transparent.

He said the controller board was not $80 but was a few hundred plus shipping. We explained we were just giving an example.

As to the first vsiit I actually hired them for annual maint but owner said first visit was for diagnosis.

We forgot to ask if the annual maintenence was done. I hoping to hear or see what is included in the annual maintenence, but now we don't even know if it was done at all, so we might be running with an un-oiled, dusty dirty furnace fro another year.

I am a little apprehensive in calling back after being told "No" for my request for an itemized bill.

I was not prepared for an answer like that.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 08:07 AM
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Well, I don't know about "the hvac industry", but the 2 times I've had to call a Pro (once about 12 yrs ago and once 2 yrs ago) I got an itemized bill just like when my car was worked on. Hours worked, labor rate, parts, misc materials all in separate sections.

This is another reason to go with smaller local companies. Was yours? No mentioning company names please.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 08:52 AM
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its a small local company, floors me that when requesting an itemized bill owner declined to provide, then we explained further why we wanted an itemized bill, owner still declined

a call to nj consumer affairs says not only are they required to provide an itemized bill, but anything over $500 they are required to have a contract signed by both parties, as a condition to the license they are granted

This is a local firm, and I know many local contractors personally who know this owner so I just might have to "eat it" just so I don't become "that guy."

Incidentally, I just now enrolled in PoCo coverage for the two furnaces in our home.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 09:22 AM
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I just now enrolled in PoCo coverage for the two furnaces in our home.
Thats great... IMO you'll be happy... I have dealt with poco people all my life... They have standards put in place that are more consistent...

a call to nj consumer affairs says not only are they required to provide an itemized bill, but anything over $500 they are required to have a contract signed by both parties, as a condition to the license they are granted
Because I am the person I am, and with that information, I would call the company back and relay this information to them... I would then get my itemized bill im sure, then consider filing a complaint...

Also I would contact the BBB...

IMO we cant let some of these contractors get away with gouging... It scars the industry for the other truthful contractors out there...

Everyone needs to step up to the plate...

I have no problem dropping a dime on plumbing contractor working next to me hand in hand performing unethical practices in the industry...


Just my opinion though... Im a tough Italian from NJ you know...LOL
 
 

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