5 On Your Side

Raleigh Woman 'Heated Up' Over Part Under Warranty

Posted March 15, 2005

— When your heating system breaks, you just want it fixed. You do not expect to pay for any parts that are under warranty. But a Wake County woman said she was billed for covered parts, so she called Five on Your Side.

During winter, there is never a good time to have your heat go out, as Fran Scheel found out.

"I was like, 'Ok, how am I going to handle this and get out the door at the same time,'" she said.

Scheel's heating system broke last November, so she wanted it fixed quickly.

"I didn't really have a company that I had used before, so I just went to the Yellow Pages and found the largest ad," she said.

The ad is for Piedmont Metro Aire Serv, which also goes by Piedmont Metro Service Company. A repairman said the problem was a broken heat exchanger. He fixed it for $971.

A couple of weeks later, Scheel found out a neighbor had the same repair by another company and was told the part was under warranty, so the neighbor paid hundreds of dollars less.

Scheel called Piedmont Metro to question the discrepancy. After repeated calls, she thought she got the result she wanted.

"They said, 'Well, we sure wouldn't want to lose a customer over $500, so we'll refund your money,'" Scheel said.

But about three weeks passed and there was no check, so Scheel called Five on Your Side.

Company owner Robert Truelove told Five On Your Side he thought the whole thing was resolved. A week later, he sent Scheel a $521 refund. He first told Five On Your Side that the original charge was a mistake, but then Truelove sent Five On Your Side a letter saying Scheel went "price shopping" after the fact. He adds he made the adjustment only to honor his company's "100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee."

Scheel is definitely satisfied now since she got her check.

"I'm thrilled and relieved. Just that, it was all over," she said.

Five On Your Side called the North Carolina Board of Plumbing and Heating. A representative said Truelove's license is revoked for doing work without permits. In fact, Five On Your Side has learned that no one currently with Piedmont Metro Aire Serv has a license. Five On Your Side called Truelove to ask him about that, but he did not respond.

The Better Business Bureau lists 26 complaints against it and slapped it with an "unsatisfactory" record.

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