Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hot Water and Hot Tempers

***Warning- Rant Ahead***

Some of you might already know that last Thursday, the pilot light on our water heater went out.  We (and when I say "we," I really mean Frank, because I'm too nervous to mess with it) couldn't get it re-lit, so we called the plumber. 

The good news?  The plumber said it was likely the thermocouple, and that's a cheap fix. 

The bad news?  Our water heater is an American, and this particular part had a class-action suit against it, so we had to order the conversion kit directly from the company... and wait three more days.  (It's now Saturday.)

So we heat stock pots of water on the stove for baths, and I put off most of the laundry until Tuesday, when the part is scheduled to arrive.  It's annoying, but it's only a few days, right? 

On Tuesday, I was thrilled to call the plumber to tell him that the part had arrived.  The plumber installs the new part late Tuesday afternoon and- yay!- we have hot water!  If only this were the end of the story.

This morning, Frank took a suspiciously lukewarm shower, and when we went down to inspect the water heater, sure enough, the pilot light was out.  I called the plumber who said that American ships a defective part about 50% of the time!  He instructed me to call the company, explain the situation, ask for a new part, and also ask for a labor code that he can use so that we don't have to pay for the installation. 

When I call American, they said not only would they not send the new part for free, or pay for the installation, they would only re-ship the part if the plumber came back to troubleshoot.  Their reasoning was that they couldn't be sure it was really their part that was the problem.  This option left me paying for a service call, a part, and an installation fee, which I ever-so-nicely explained to them would NOT be happening. 

Fast forward three more phone calls to the plumber, one more call to the company, and a phone call to Frank,who also called the company, and that brings us up to now.  American still refuses to take responsibility for the part and now alleges it must have been faulty installation by the plumber.  The plumber is coming back out today to troubleshoot, and says that if it was their error, we will not be charged.  If they determine that it is the part, they will call the company and continue to push for them to pay the installation costs.  The owner of the plumbing company has also made a separate contact to American this morning about their customer service and shifting of blame, and I'm waiting to hear the outcome of that call. 

The best case scenario is that we are out another $100 and without hot water for a few more days.  Worse case scenario?  I won't even jinx us by typing it....

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