Thursday, July 8, 2021

More on my new Air Conditioner - Independence Day Weekend Support Issues.

 

I figure that my readers may be interested in the following complaint letter I wrote to the president of Friedrich Corporation discussing the troubles I've had with my AC.  It's best to write to the top honcho when you have a problem, as the little people have only so much power to influence major problems in a company.  And in my case, my complaint addresses major quality problems for the company which affect me as a customer.

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Mr. Chuck Campbell       
President,
Friedrich Corporation
10001 Reunion Place
San Antonio, TX 78216

 

Dear Mr. Campbell,

I recently bought a pair of Friedrich Air Conditioners, looking to replace the two in-wall units I have that recently failed.  The first of these units has been delivered, and I am already having problems – all of which should have been caught before the unit was sent out to your distributors for consumer sales. It is this unit and its problems that I want to discuss in this letter.

The unit (Wallmaster model WCT16A30A) comes with a manual which does not properly identify where the “Menu” button can be found.  Looking straight at the control panel, it is not readily apparent that this button is directly UNDER the control panel.  I had to call tech support to find out where this button was.  Your manuals should be updated to make this clear for the person who wants to start setting up the unit’s special features, such as WiFi (for use with the Friedrich Connect App).

Next, when I started to follow the manual’s procedure for setting up the WiFi on the unit, so that I could use your App, I encountered another problem.  So, I rushed home to get in contact with tech support before it closed down for the long weekend.  Most people in my area cannot get home on weekdays by 6 pm when your tech support line shuts down, so they are forced to take time off from work to deal with your very limited tech support hours.  This is the second issue I’ve had to deal with, and I was lucky to be able to schedule my time so that I could reach your people in time.

Finally, when I called tech support, I was the 6th caller on the queue.  A few minutes before 6 pm, a technician came on the line and rushed to service me.  He noted that there was a firmware update to the AC that needs to be applied, and asked me for my email address without confirming he had taken it down correctly.  Once he had my address, all further communications would take place by email – and that he’d be sending me information right away.  This did not happen.  He was in a rush to get me off the line, so that he could service other customers before his shift ended for the week. Either he got my email address wrong (inexcusable in one way) or he didn’t bother to send me the email (inexcusable in another way).  Even more bothersome was the fact that your firm shipped out a product without making sure that it would work as documented in the field.  This is totally without excuse.  Products coming out of the factory should be “perfect”, and not needing any repairs – especially by a customer.

So, you might be asking – what do I want?  For the first thing, as a customer, I want better support hours for your products – both weeknights and weekends.  For me personally. Since your firm screwed up by sending out a buggy unit and a manual that is incomplete, I would like for your office to suggest something which might be of real value to me.  Since my previous two previous air conditioner units failed after their warranties ended, you may consider an extended, full service, labor, and parts warranty for my two units.  I’m pretty sure that you do not design your units to fail shortly after 3 years of use, so this might be a cheap way to keep me (and possible future customers of the Wallmaster units) happy.  It also provides an incentive for your firm to improve the quality of its products, in a similar way that Hyundai’s increase of warranty protections forced its employees to build products with greater quality than before the warranty was improved.

 

Sincerely Yours,

Marian Johnson

 




Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Yesterday, I bought an air conditioner.

 



This is a tale of two air conditioners.  The first, a Friedrich (above), is one designed to fit my Fedders sleeve perfectly.  The other, a GE (below), is one that fits in a Fedders sleeve, but needs a supplied adapter kit to make a proper seal between the unit and sleeve to be both attractive and cool effectively.

I had to make a hard decision between these two units, and I needed the help of a friend to make me secure in my decision.

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But first....

As I may have mentioned before, both my Living Room and Bedroom air conditioners were having problems after being repaired.  The master circuit board on my living room air conditioner was on the fritz late last AC season, and it would not turn off.  After unplugging it for 8 months, the AC would not turn on properly. Either the AC fan would run without the compressor (no cooling, and a waste of electricity), or the compressor would run without the fan (a bigger waste of electricity).  A second repair on top of last year's repair would cost me as much as replacing the unit, so I decided to bite the bullet and replace this unit.  However, this left me with some decisions to be made with the bedroom unit.  A couple of years ago, the unit had a coolant leak which forced me to call factory authorized service for repairs.  This year, the unit doesn't seem to be cooling properly, and I didn't want to risk another repair which would only be a band-aid on the problem.  So I had to choose between repairing or replacing the unit, and then choosing which unit with which to replace the bedroom unit.

Because my two Friedrich units were lemons, I figured that I'd look for units which would fit into my sleeve with the help of an adapter kit.  None of the stores selling air conditioners gave me that option when I bought my living room AC.  So, I bought the Friedrich AC that would fit my sleeve with the highest cooling capacity.  And I am happy with it.  However, when I shopped for my bedroom AC, things were different.  The Friedrich AC that would fit my bedroom sleeve was out of stock.  And the salesman tried to steer me to the GE unit which uses an adapter kit. I was both unhappy that this option wasn't offered to me the first time I went to the store, and that I needed to choose between two imperfect solutions to my problem.  So I called my friend Vicki.

As my readers know, Vicki has been the voice of sanity in my life.  She is my most reliable and rational friend, now that my friend WDS has likely passed away.  When I reached her, we talked about my options and helped me come to a quick decision.  Although the GE unit would likely work and fit my needs, the Friedrich unit would do a better job for me.  We ended our chat when I reached the second store, where I bought the Friedrich unit.  Although it won't be delivered until after the next heat wave is over, it will be a welcome replacement for a unit which has become unreliable at too early an age.

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Given that I live in a top floor apartment with little cross ventilation, Air Conditioning is a requirement for me.  My persistent "complaining" kept the repair of my bedroom AC sleeve on top of the essential repair list.  So I'd have been foolish NOT to do what was needed to stay cool in the hot summer.  

What do you think I have should done?  Which AC solution should I have chosen?


PS: This question has been made more complex by a matter I'll discuss in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

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