On the coldest day of this year, Taunton Trades sent two service technicians to look at my furnace, which wasn't running. They told me I needed a new part, which one of them went to pick up. In the meantime, the other discovered a "new problem" and told me I needed another part that would take two weeks to get. They capped my gas and left me and my 90-year-old mother in sub-zero temperatures. I called another technician for a second opinion. He came and fixed the first part, told me that the other problem had been misdiagnosed and made arrangements to fix the second, much less dire problem. The same day I received a call from Taunton Trades' sales guy who wanted to sell me a new furnace. I told him I was in no rush and he said, "Oh, I thought it was an emergency because you're sitting there with no heat in minus thirty degrees. I've talked to four other people today who were in that situation and needed a new furnace." 'What a coincidence!', I thought. After I paid the guys for their work I received only a receipt and had to contact them to ask for an itemized invoice. When I got it, it showed that $200 of the bill was for the trip to go pick up the part that never showed up! I contacted Sean, the owner, twice to inquire about it and ask him to address this overcharge, and have never heard back from him. However, I notice that he has plenty of time to comment on positive reviews on line. I understand that sometimes things aren't handled the way they should be. Everybody makes mistakes. It's the way a company handles customer service problems that makes the difference for me. Sean's radio silence was a very loud alarm. This was my first experience with this company and will be my last. It's not clear whether this outcome was due to inexperience or lack of expertise on their part, or if it was an outright racket to sell furnaces. Either way, I would never trust them again and would certainly not recommend them to anyone.

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Company Response

It has taken me a while to respond to this review because I view my company like an extension of myself and my family. When someone attacks the integrity of my company and the people who work with me it becomes very personal. Therefore I needed to take some time to gather my thoughts on this.

I would like to set the record straight by explaining exactly how the events of this call unfolded. Yes two technicians were dispatched to this customers home in response to a service request for a no heat situation. Upon arrival 2 situations were observed. The vent motor, which is responsible for removing the products of combustion from the furnace flame, was found to be receiving power but not running. The second observation was that the furnace had not necessarily been regularly maintained and was therefore quite dirty.

The manufacturer was contacted to obtain pricing for the replacement vent motor and an estimate of the time to retrieve the part and return to install it was provided. This is merely an estimate since the time period during which this call took place was when we were experiencing some of the worst driving conditions we have seen in the region in at least 10 years. Many customers seem to struggle with the idea of travel charges however it's like this. The technician operating the vehicle to retrieve the part needs to be paid and the vehicle itself has costs associated with its operation (fuel, insurance, maintenance, and the eventual replacement cost - to the otherwise initiated, these items are known as overhead). Any business that does not charge accordingly for these expenses will not survive long enough to be around to provide future service to clients.

The customer was also informed that the unit was in serious need of a maintenance/cleaning which she also authorized. In the interest of getting the work done as efficiently as possible one technician stayed on site to perform the inspection and cleaning. It was during the disassembly of the furnace to properly perform the maintenance that the crack in the heat exchanger was discovered. This was brought to the customers attention immediately upon its discovery. The customers immediate reaction was to call a "friend" who she claimed was also a heating contractor "and could have performed the work". If this was the case why were we called to the home in the first place? This is not the first time we have been faced with this and it always raises concerns for me as a contractor myself. However we were committed to the call and to fully explaining the situation to her. The technician performing the maintenance sent pictures to both myself and the other technician who was attending the call with him for second and third opinions. When the customer became so insistent that we were mistaken I went as far as to contact the local inspector from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority to insure that we were not misdiagnosing the problem. He agreed with our assessment. The TSSA is the regulatory and licensing body for our industry, and are also responsible for administering charges and punishment to technicians and companies that do not follow the rules and regulations set out in the Gas Code. If another technician felt that it was safe to restart this appliance in the condition that it was in then that is a risk he takes upon himself. I have a responsibility to my family and the people who work for my company not to put anyone in harms way where the result could be substantial fines for both the company and the technicians, or worse, the injury of a customer or the general public.

At the end of the day, yes we left this customer without heat because her furnace was unsafe to operate. We offered her temporary heaters which she refused. We also made an effort to contact her quickly to see if she wanted to consider repairing the unit, which would mean a two week wait for parts, or replace it with a model that met with her needs and budget. She delayed discussion with my customer service manager by claiming that she was otherwise engaged with something else and indicated that she would like to contact us when she was ready to discuss the next portion of the proceedings. At no time throughout any of these dealings was there any mention of an elderly parent living with her in the home, and if that was the case why did she refuse the offer of our heaters that we lend out free of charge to people without heat.

I stand by the fact that we have a substantial number of 10 star reviews and that we took the correct course of action to protect this customer from a potentially hazardous situation. There are other technicians in the industry who interpret the code the way they see fit and are willing to do things that are not safe or legal. I am thankful for the team I have working with me who value the importance of conducting ourselves with safety in mind.