We had Atlas install a ductless AC in our home in late July, 2013. We got 4-5 quotes, and while they were not the cheapest (actually, the most expensive), I liked the salesman Gus. He was knowledgable, friendly, responsive, and thorough - and really took the time to understand the somewhat unique installation requirements of the site. The install went well - they brought in an electrician when the going got rough, and it was up and running that day.
Fast forward 23 months: we realize the AC unit isn’t working. We call them, expecting some sympathy or concern or a desire to make it right. None was forthcoming. They called back and asked if the technician would have to bring a ladder. I said yes. They said how high? I said I don’t know exactly - you guys installed it. She seemed irritated at my answer. When we dug a little further, it was clear they weren’t really standing behind their work. They weren’t going to ponder for a moment a free visit to have a look - we hadn’t paid for the pricey maintenance plan. And on the topic of warranty: “Depending on what it is, the manufacturer might cover it.” Their manner was hostile and dismissive. The implication: get your wallet out.
I called Fujitsu (the manufacturer) to clarify, and they confirmed that all the parts are indeed covered, and that the contractor would be reimbursed through the local distributor for any non-labour costs.
Questions I Was Left Wondering:
- Why imply that the cost would be substantial (because we didn’t sign up for their plan?)
- Why cast doubt on the manufacturer's warranty?
It is not that they were explicitly deceptive - it is true we didn’t subscribe to their pricey ongoing maintenance contract, which I think we can all say is a great way to build their profit but not an exceptional value to the consumer. I paid $3400 plus tax for a ductless AC, and did so on the hope that they would stand behind their product and installation. The AC unit had probably been on a total of 25 days since its installation. To be told that, “Well, you didn’t buy the extended warranty, so…” (you’re out of luck…), and to have them imply that the labour costs are going to be high (even though all parts are still under warranty), was a little grimey. Under such a model, their interest is actually in a substandard installation.
The vibe seems to be: unless you willing to spend hundreds a year on their ongoing maintenance plan, they won’t stand behind their work - and they don’t particularly want to hear from you, either.
I’ve referred paying customers to Atlas Care who had AC systems installed, but I can say I won’t be doing that now. Go with anyone else - Atlas is more interested in upselling on maintenance than on proper customer relations.
(As well, their general prices for maintenance are 60% higher than three other places on Homestars, all with 9.8/10 ratings and above. Why bother calling Atlas?)
- Approximate cost of services:
- What could this company do to improve their services?
- Stand behind their products and installations; have a kinder manner on the telephone.
- Any advice to offer fellow homeowners facing a similar project?
- Avoid Atlas. Stick with a contractor who is more interested in service than in selling service plans.