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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Time When We Were Scammed...

“Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.”

So many people have reached out to help me in the last month that my faith in humanity was pleasantly restored… until we were scammed last week! Now, I refuse to let one asshole ruin all of those positive gestures I have received, but I am definitely a little more than pissed off, to say the least!

Last Friday, the fan on our furnace stopped working. Because we are having a cold spring, I decided to call someone to have it repaired rather than wait for handy-hubby to fiddle with it over the weekend. There was a huge sticker on the furnace itself with a Sears logo on it so I called them first, figuring they were reputable. I explained the problem and we arranged for “a technician” to come out that afternoon.

As scheduled “a technician”, who also happened to be the man who answered the phone earlier that morning (he had a distinct voice), showed up at our door. I didn’t think much of it then, but it soon became apparent that this was a one-man-show. He drove an unmarked car but he had a Sears logo on his jacket (which DH saw and I missed). He assessed our furnace and said that the fan needed to be replaced as the motor had blown. He offered us a re-furbished model as our furnace is quite old and probably needed to be replaced within the next couple of years, and then he tried to sell me a new furnace as well. Whoa! One thing at a time! 

DH came home from work and the “one-man-show”, formerly known as “the technician”, came back later that evening with our re-furbished motor and fan. He installed it, tested it, talked to us about our options going forward and collected payment – by cheque only and almost 400$. He was super nice and everything seemed fine! 

Saturday morning, wake up, tell DH the house is freezing and he goes to check the furnace again. Somehow our gas isn’t working, which is what we heat with overnight, so he figures something was wired incorrectly. I call “one-man-show” again and he promises to send “a technician” out on Monday but he cannot say when for sure. 

Sunday morning, freezing. Monday morning, freezing. 
Not acceptable with a 5 month old in the house! 

So, I called back early Monday morning and he promised someone would be at our home between 1-4pm. I considered calling the bank to cancel or hold the cheque, but decided to wait and give him the benefit of the doubt. Big mistake; always trust your gut! Long story short… no one came. I called and called, he promised and promised, and by 9pm… nothing. 

Tuesday morning I called him again, this time desperate as I would only be home for a short amount of time in the afternoon. He promised, AGAIN, apologizing for “his technician”. We went out for the morning and when the LO went for her nap I started Googling, and it was all of a minute before I found the list of complaints about this man and his services! I decided to give him until 3pm to show, and when he did not I called the bank. 

Unfortunately, the cheque had already cleared, but that made me sure that he was never coming back. The bank suggested I phone the police as well but they could not offer me any assistance other than to tell me to call 911 if he sets foot on our property again. I have spoken with Consumer Protection and they have opened a file for my claim, alongside a handful of others they are already processing. He is operating under multiple names and addresses, all under the same phone number. 

So, we are now 5 days later and I still don’t have heat. The LO and I have been out a lot, warming up with friends and family. She is at daycare today so we have another reputable company coming soon to fix it (for another 120$ minimum). They were actually here last night giving us an estimate on a new furnace as well and we really liked them. They were referred to us by my stepfather so I trust them more! I have no faith in whatever the last guy did now so I want them to do a thorough check, no matter what the cost. Hopefully by the time she is home today we will be back in business! 

So, what do I think happened? Recently a company kept calling us saying they were hired by our gas company to clean our furnace free of charge. I was skeptical, so I called our gas company and they confirmed that this is not something they would offer and advised me not to accept any such services. I believe the same tactic was used on the old home owners, way back when, and they naively took the help. This “one-man-show” probably printed up his own labels, using the Sears logo and all, and stuck it on the furnace to ensure more business for himself. 

Con artist! What a douche! Leaving me and DH in the cold after you mess up is one thing. Leaving my little girl to freeze? That’s what drove me to lodge complaints against him, and I will definitely follow up!