It’s a dangerous economic world that we live in today. As much as I want to trust everyone I come in contact with, it’s not far fetched that given the opportunity, everyone would take everything in my home if I left the doors open for a few minutes and closed my eyes. I’m not sayin’ I got nice stuff, because it’s average. I’m sayin’ it because gone are the days when you could trust your neighbor or your family doctor or the friendly air conditioning repairman down the street. Everyone is in it for the money and the buck never really seems to stop anywhere. “Where does this rant come from?” you might be asking yourself. Well…let me tell you a little story that really honks me off…and makes me very aware of the fact that it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know and even that doesn’t guarantee that you’re gonna come out unscathed. But in this case, luckily I did.
I’ve debated on whether or not I should post WHO this particular company is simply because I still go there for oil changes and such, but this particular incident seems so shady and so sneaky that I figure there is a lesson here and so I’m gonna tell it like it happened…but I dunno about naming names…
October 2009. The air conditioner in my wife’s 2002 Ford Explorer goes out. It’s not blowing any cold air and so…I figure I better plan for the worst.
June 2010. I haven’t planned for the worst, I haven’t saved up any money to pay to have the air conditioner fixed, but I figure I better take it in and get an estimate on the problem. So I do. I take it to Airport Ford in Florence, KY (oops…there goes THAT plan) and the problem is apparently my evaporator core is busted and needs to be replaced. This involves taking apart the dashboard, replacing the part and then putting it all back together again. And this endeavor will cost me about $1,000.
Really? $1,000? Because the Blue Book value on this vehicle is about $4,100 right now and I don’t even know what the hell an evaporator core is! I can’t seem to imagine why I would put $1,000 into the air conditioner when that’s a fourth of what the damn thing is worth! So…I don’t exactly have $1,000 lying around anyway so I say “Screw that!” and walk away. Total cost on getting the estimate and NOT paying to have it fixed? $85. And the guy at the front desk (whose name may or may not be Mario) tells me he thinks I’m making the right choice. On a car this old? He wouldn’t spend that kind of money on it either. Thanks for the advice Mario…but it leads me to believe that maybe you were in on a little secret…
July 2010. I call my dad in my hometown. Zanesville has been hit hard by the economic depression and there are lots of businesses that need the work. I ask him if he knows anyone who could possibly take a look at my air conditioner. Give me a 2nd opinion, as it were. My dad says he does know a family that specializes in air conditioners and I figure, if anything, maybe he’ll cut me a bit of a deal to replace the evaporator core and make some extra bank from the son of a guy who his parents used to know. So I take a little vacation time and take my car over to Don’s Auto Air located at 1508 West Main St, Zanesville, OH 43701. I meet Don and he seems like a very nice fellow. I give him my car keys and my dad & I go out to golf 9 holes.
Cut to a few hours later. Don calls me and tells me this…
“Well…I checked out your compressor and it’s fine and then I put in some dye to find the problem and there was a hole in a hose. I patched it up, added some refrigerant and it seems to be running pretty good. I figure it took me an hour or so…so I’ll charge you $45 for the labor, $50 for the materials and taxes and it will come to…$104? Is that okay?”
Is that okay?!?! Don…ya just saved me a grand! Of course that’s okay! Hell…I was so happy I asked him if he could replace anything else on my car that needed fixed!
“Sorry…we only do air conditioners and such. Nothin’ else really.”
“Really? You don’t do body work or replace batteries or ANYTHING? Because I would totally rather buy it from you than these OTHER guys who suck…”
“Nope. Just air conditioners. And radiators.”
Needless to say, I didn’t need a new radiator yet, so that was all of my business that Don got that day. But you can bet your butt if I ever have any other air or radiator issues with ANY of my vehicles, I’m gonna take it 3 hours out of my way to Don’s Auto Air in Zanesville, OH. The guy is honest and friendly and I would definitely trust him with the keys to my car. Maybe not the keys to my house…but definitely my car. Hey…ya gotta start somewhere.
Thanks Don! You are a good man and a suave business owner. You want to keep your customers? Treat them fairly and do a good job and they’ll always come back for more. And Airport Ford? You guys can bite me.