When Gail Duffey of Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego noticed a display stand outside her local Home Depot about two years ago, she thought it would be a wise decision to sign a service contract for her air conditioner.
“I thought, it’s at Home Depot so it’s probably reliable,” she told NBC 7.
Initially intending to make an appointment for a one-time repair, Duffey ended up paying $599 for a five-year service contract with Delta Mechanical, hoping to save money and make a long-term investment. After all, air conditioner units usually need to be changed either once a month or once every three months, depending on how often they’re used, in addition to twice yearly maintenance inspections, according to EnergyStar.gov.
“The salesperson pointed out to me that they had a service contract that might save me some money,” she said.
Although Gail didn’t see any problems with the initial repair job, she became concerned when, a year later, the company kept rescheduling appointments when she needed an expensive replacement part installed.
Two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners, so it’s not uncommon for repair companies and contractors to be busiest during the hot summer months — still, Gail knew something was amiss.
“They quickly came out to diagnose the problem but they were very slow, once they took our money for the part, to actually come and finish the job,” she said.
Gail said she continually made appointments with the company but the repeatedly didn’t show up. After eventually calling to make a complaint, Delta Mechanical agreed to reimburse her $300 for her trouble. But according to Gail, “when I looked at my credit card statement, no credit.”
Six full months passed while Gail tried to get in touch with the company. Considering that electronic bill payment is a now common feature of online banking and makes things like refunds and transfers easier than ever, giving Gail her well-deserved $300 credit should have been simple. NBC 7 also tried to contact Delta Mechanical, but to no avail — they were virtually unreachable.
“There would be no answer on the phone, the number that I always called, and I’m thinking great, I just lost my money,” said Duffey.
Finally, NBC 7 contacted the Home Depot Gail originally came across the display and signed the service contract at. Gail said that they took initiative by offering not only to give her the refund, but to take over the rest of her service contract, even though she signed it with a different company. Considering their strong organic sales growth, it’s not surprising that they maintain a high caliber of customer service.
NBC 7 did eventually receive a response from Delta Mechanical, citing personnel changes as the primary reason for their unavailability and refund delay.
Suzy Kitchukova, a spokesperson for Delta Mechanical, said in an email, “Delta Mechanical would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the inconvenience caused to Mrs. Duffey. Unfortunately, due to a change in personnel, the refund was not submitted to the proper department for processing. Once this oversight was brought to our attention, we were able to process the refund immediately. Delta Mechanical is currently fulfilling all warranty work for previous installations.”