Its Duct Time - Wasted Too Much Time on It's Duct Time
Overall, a poorly executed and very concerning experience. It's Duct Time sold vouchers On LivingSocial and then subcontracted the work out to other vendors. This was not disclosed as a part of the deal fine print and further contributed to our poor customer experience.
It's Duct Time subcontracted our maintenance with a company "Myrefrshair Inc.". That is not a typo, they have invoices with the missing e in fresh. First, they had blown off the first appointment scheduled for 3PM on 12/3 with a no call, no show. My wife had to continue calling back to It's Duct Time's call center to get updates which were uncertain and lacking details. This should have been our first red flag. Regardless, we rescheduled the appointment for 12/9 first thing in the morning.
The morning of 12/9, technicians from Myrefrshair showed up and performed the maintenance. During the maintenance one of the technicians presented a customer scare story regarding mold in the metal ducts and advised it could be removed for an additional $400 using an undisclosed cleaning solvent. Second red flag should have been raised at this time, but we attributed it to overzealous technicians trying to up sell the customer.
After the maintenance was performed, the technicians left our home. Shortly after we realized that the house was no longer heating properly and we contacted Myrefrshair on 12/10. We first attempted to contact the technicians who performed the maintenance, but our calls went to voice mail with no response. We then escalated the issue to It's Duct Time who in turn contacted Myrefrshair and advised them of our issue. It was not until the next morning, 12/11 that they had a technician come out to troubleshoot the issue. He assured us that he will take care of us and make sure we had heat for our family before he left.
After hours of troubleshooting, the tech was stumped and was preparing to leave. He assured us that he will have somebody out at the house that evening, which never happened. Shortly after that, we took matters into our own hands and had a family friend who is an HVAC technician look at the system. The issue was our ducts were damaged in multiple areas by the brushes used during cleaning.
The morning of 12/12, Myrefrshair had an independent, local HVAC technician come out to look at the system. The HVAC technician arrived prior than the tech from Myrefrshair and quickly identified ducting was compromised in multiple areas where a brush had penetrated the flexible material. Once the Myrefrshair tech arrived onsite and we shared the identification of the root cause, he pulled the HVAC technician outside and had a heated conversation.
At the conclusion of the conversation, the technician from Myrefrshair advised that our ducts were old and brittle and they has disintegrated somehow during cleaning. He then offered two repair options. First was to tape the ducts in order to fill in any gaps and reattach the ducts in areas were it had been severely damaged for $150. Second option was to replace the damage ducting for $400 and cited discounted labor rates at the duct alone was $300 for the materials. At this point we called BS.
The HVAC technician that had visited our home that morning indicated that the flex duct replacement material was $65 for a 14 foot replacement of the damaged section of flex duct. Our trust and confidence was completely gone with Myrefrshair as this seemed like another opportunity to bilk the customer out of money.
We then told the Myrefrshair technician that we were going to have it handled by a 3rd party HVAC technician and bill them. Only after putting a hold on the check to Myrefrshair and providing the stern guidance did Myrefrshair offer a fair compromise to have the independent 3rd party HVAC tech repair the damage at their cost.
In the end, our ducts are clean and the heat now works. However, It's Duct Time needs to be held accountable by LivingSocial for their undisclosed sale of subcontracted services with a significant lack of ownership for service delivery leading to a poor customer experience. It's Duct Time has listed on their website under FAQs that their methods do not employ techniques that harm duct work, "While our equipment is designed to be aggressive at removing debris from your air system, it is also gentle enough so that it does not damage your air ducts". However, they clearly cannot monitor or guarantee this aspect of service since the work is being performed by subcontracted companies. Furthermore, the subcontracted companies should be monitored for the bait and switch type of up sell or products and services. In the case of the mold treatment, what happens if the chemical that was applied to the duct work is corrosive or has warnings that the consumer is not aware of on the product label? Did Myrefrshair consider the fact that my wife is pregnant when they recommended this service and chemical application? Where is the quality and oversight by It's Duct Time with regards to the companies that they dispatch, their qualifications, and follow up? Lastly, considerations need to be weighed by LivingSocial for who is responsible for negligence by deal service providers. It can easily be argued in this case that It's Duct Time and their subcontracted partner were both negligent in the above experience.
Monetary Loss: $450.