I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau against my oil company, Edward S Mull. After multiple back and forth, the BBB just dismissed my complaint. I hate being wrong, but am not sure that I am.
I have a service plan at the highest level of protection on my heating system. Traditionally the water pumped into my steam heat system has been very low and the water gauge barely moved during my first few years in this house. However, it was starting to pump 10-20 gallons into the system every few days. I did not feel this was normal, so had them come out to take a look at the system.
They agreed it was not normal. First they did some type of chemical treatment. That did not help. Then they replaced a switch. That definitely helped, and now the system pumps in a couple gallons a week (instead of 10+ every few days). I assume the numbers will lower when it gets warmer and the heating system tuns off.
So, no problems I had a problem they came out multiple times and put in place a fix, right?
The problem occurs a few weeks later when I received an invoice in the mail for a used switch. I was unaware I was going to be incurring any costs. The oil folk have been out multiple times over the past 4-5 years to perform the service and I never got an invoice. I assumed that if I was going to be incurring costs I would be notified. This is the way I run my business. I figured this would be a "Customer Service 101" thing.
So, I called and spoke to someone. He explained that burner switches are covered, but end switches are not (because they never break). He said "she" did me good by getting a cheap used switch and not charging for labor. But, I'd have to talk to "she" about any billing issues.
I was not notified I'd be incurring any costs. I was not given the opportunity to do a cost or warranty analysis of "used" vs "new" parts. I should not be billed when I had no say or input in the process.
I put my thoughts down in a letter and snail mailed it to them. "She" called me, refused to remove the charge and we fought on the phone. Apparently it was my fault for not asking if I would be incurring a cost. It is my fault for not knowing that "End switches" are different than "Burner switches." Edward S Mull only notifies a customer if the cost is going to be over $100 (which the 'used part' was not).
As soon as I got off the phone with "She" I filed a complaint w/ the BBB. Company responded explaining the switch vs switch issue. I responded saying they did not address the root of my complaint and asked for documentation on their "customer notification" policies for uncovered work. The policy documentation they provided does not cover such an issue; it just says "Customer will pay for stuff not covered under this agreement" to paraphrase.
Company responded again and actually tried to address my complaint. They said they'd be more than happy to put the 'old broken part' back in at no cost; however if I have future problems they will charge me for new parts and labor to address the issue. If that truly was their policy, then why didn't they do that in the beginning?
I said that I didn't feel that putting an old broken part back in was a good move. BBB dismissed the complaint.
The question is, do I have them put back in the old part (and then have the issue fixed by a 3rd party) or do I just pay the 'unethical' charge to keep them 'happy' while I search for a new oil company? After all that has happened I'm cautious about letting them back into my house. Even if I were to watch them like a hawk, I have no way to judge the service done on a furnace.
So, am I wrong in wanting the charge removed from the bill? Is the company right for doing "uncovered" service without notifying me of the cost?