I had to have a repairman come yesterday and replace the fan in the HVAC system at my house. The prospect of even another day in the hot Atlanta summer without AC, or even a fan to move air, was a dreadful one. I called the HVAC company up, and set up an “afternoon” appointment. The polite and helpful operator told me that they would come by “some time after noon,” and that they would call me about twenty minutes before their arrival. I decided to work from home so that I would be sure to be there when they arrived.
Around 2:30p.m., I called them to make sure that my appointment was definitely scheduled. I was told that it was and that they didn’t know at that point when, exactly, they would be arriving. Around 6:30 p.m., I called again to make sure that they were still coming out, and they were. Around 8 p.m., there was a knock at my door, and the repairman was outside. At this point, he then made the repair, and I now have working HVAC and a much more comfortable house. Grand total of time between the waiting and the repair, just over nine hours.
What I don’t understand, is why this method of scheduling home repairs, cable appointments, etc.. is still acceptable in this age of technology. Not only did I have to spend about 8 hours of my time just waiting around that were not necessary, but I then had to pay them for the repair. It’s not that I don’t understand that there is some level of variation in the amount of time things like HVAC repairs take, but rather that that variation is within a set of easy to establish parameters. Given those parameters, it should be pretty easy to give people a one or two hour window, still keep all of your repairmen busy, and not waste too much gas doing so. All I know is that I would have appreciated the ability to go into work for the full day, which I could have done.
The sad thing about this, to me, is that Moncrief, the company in question, did great work. Everyone was polite, answered my questions honestly, and the price I was charged was reasonable. I don’t think I will call them again though, I don’t have have enough extra time to wait around that much, this is compounded by the fact that I am a single guy trying to keep up with the responsibilities of a hous eby myself. Am I wrong to find this sort of thing disrespectful to me and the value of my time?
It’s not just you. It’s disrepectful, it’s unprofessional, and it’s only a problem because we, as consumers, begrudgingly tolerate it. Call them back and complain. Your time is worth something, and you should be compensated.
(Yesterday’s Bleat detailed Lileks’s nightmare DirecTiVo install. Seven service calls, 21 hours of waiting. Scroll down. http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/04/0704/070704.html)
HVAC hates freedom.