How long should I wait for my air conditioner to get repaired?
December 21, 2023
Jeffrey Schiff's Carrier air conditioner stops working during a heat wave. The manufacturer tells him to wait for the parts. But how long is too long?
I’m writing to you because I’ve been unable to resolve a problem through normal customer service channels. My problem is with Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer. My air conditioner has been down for more than three weeks because of a leaking coil. It is still under warranty.
The information I’ve received from Carrier indicates the coil may not be available for approximately four more weeks from its plant in Mexico. My wife and I are in our 80s, and we live in South Florida. Seven weeks without air conditioning is unbearable.
I'm a retired senior production operations manager for an aerospace company. Service parts were as critical as “new build” in my operation. I could never ground an aircraft for this long. Products with a 10-year warranty should have parts to support them.
Can you help me get my air conditioner fixed?
Jeffrey Schiff, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
You should not have to wait seven weeks to get your air conditioner repaired under your warranty. Carrier should have made whatever arrangements were necessary to expedite your repair. (Your case crossed my desk during the late summer when temperatures routinely exceeded 100 degrees.)
As a former resident of Port St. Lucie, I know how hot it can get and how unbearable it feels when you don't have air conditioning in Florida. I loved living in Port St. Lucie, by the way, and still miss it. And I completely agree with you that if a manufacturer offers a warranty, it should have the parts to support it.
I reviewed the paper trail of correspondence between you and Carrier. It looks as if the company was trying to get you the part on time. However, it didn't have the right part for your unit and needed to get it manufactured at its plant in Mexico, according to the correspondence you provided.
You could have forwarded your complaint to someone higher up the chain at Carrier. The company lists the names of its executives on its website. I also have a guide on how to find the phone number and email address of the CEO on my consumer advocacy site. I think a brief, polite email might have expedited your repair.
Then again, maybe not. I reached out to Carrier on your behalf. An executive office consumer liaison manager responded to you quickly and said that, as a "one-time goodwill concession," Carrier would offer a fan coil unit replacement. But the fan coil wasn't compatible with your unit. You let Carrier know of your disappointment in writing (which is great because this creates a paper trail). Finally, I received a note from you.
"We received a coil today from who knows where, but it's in and cooling," you said. "Thank you so much for helping us. I'm certain you got the dead ball moving. Forever grateful."
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/
© 2023 Christopher Elliott