We were having a chimney taken down and needed a water heater that could be power-vented out of the side. We also wanted a humidifier on the furnace. We selected The HVAC Service, primarily because they could schedule the work for the day prior to the chimney removal.
We received an email saying they would arrive between 8 AM and noon. At 11:30 AM, we called to get an ETA and were told they were on their way. At 1:30 PM, we called again. They would look into it and get back to us. No one did. We called back at 2:30, and again at 4:30, by which time we were getting concerned as it was getting late and we needed the work done that day, as promised.
They eventually showed up at 5:30 PM and stayed until almost midnight trying to get the exhaust piping right as they didn’t have the proper materials and had to make several elbow bends. When they eventually turned the tank on, the flame burned orange, indicating a combustion issue and potential CO threat. They said it was probably too many elbow bends and someone would be there first thing in the morning to fix it.
(They also informed us that the proposed humidifier, on which we had already made a down payment, could not be installed as there was insufficient space on and around the furnace, and that an expensive steam humidifier was the only option. We asked for either a new invoice minus the original humidifier or an estimate for a new one. All we got was an amended invoice with a $300 reduction! The technicians had also connected the new tank to an outlet using an extension cord as there were no outlets close by. They asked whether we'd been informed during the sales call that this was an issue and we should bring in an electrician. We had not.)
The following day, when "first thing" had become 11 AM, we texted the salesperson and were told that someone would contact us ASAP. Nobody did. An hour later, we called head office and were told they were on their way and should arrive between 12:30 and 1 PM. They showed up at 2 PM and replaced the pipes with a more efficient setup. The flame still burned orange. Next guess? A faulty gas valve which would have to be replaced. Someone would arrive next day "before 10 AM".
At 11 AM on day three, we contacted the salesperson, who said he had been told that the job was complete! He said he had never seen a situation like it and that he had spoken with the head of the company who would be calling us in five minutes. An hour later, unsurprisingly: nothing. At 12:30 PM, we called head office and were told we were scheduled for between 10 AM and noon. “Okay, but it's now 12:30." We were told that a part had been ordered but they had no idea when it might arrive
At this point, they started not only blowing us off but actually giving us a hard time for repeatedly calling in an effort to find out what was going on. On asking who might have a clue, we were told the parts manager but they "were busy" and would call back "at their earliest convenience". We never did hear from them but a while later the original person called back (the first proactive call in three days!) and said they would arrive with the part between 4 and 8 PM.
At 7:15 PM, we called again on the assumption that we were looking at a fourth day without hot water. We were told that they were on their way to Windsor to pick up the part. (So where did the 4 - 8 PM window come from?) A technician finally arrived at 10:30 PM. He installed the replacement successfully and left close to midnight. He also contradicted the salesperson and technicians in suggesting that the original humidifier could in fact have been installed but probably wasn't the right model and that a steam humidifier was not appropriate for our size of house.
We never received a single follow-up call asking whether the issue had been resolved or apologizing for the delays, the lack of communication, and the conflicting messages. At 6 PM on Saturday, however, we received a request for the balance of payment, and again on Sunday. Suddenly they were exhibiting a new-found urgency! After speaking with a manager, they took an additional $200 off the original bill for the inconvenience; hardly enough to have a new humidifier installed, and which this company certainly will not be doing!