Jeffrey Schiff’s Carrier air conditioner stops working during a heat wave. The manufacturer tells him to wait for the repair. But how long is too long?
I’m writing to you because I’ve been unable to resolve a problem through normal customer service channels. My problem is with Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer. My air conditioner has been down for more than three weeks because of a leaking coil. It is still under warranty.
The information I’ve received from Carrier indicates the coil may not be available for approximately four more weeks from its plant in Mexico. My wife and I are in our 80s, and we live in South Florida. Seven weeks without air conditioning is unbearable.
I’m a retired senior production operations manager for an aerospace company. Service parts were as critical as “new build” in my operation. I could never ground an aircraft for this long. Products with a 10-year warranty should have parts to support them.
Can you help me get my air conditioner fixed? — Jeffrey Schiff, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
You should not have to wait seven weeks to get your air conditioner repaired under your warranty. Carrier should have made whatever arrangements were necessary to expedite your repair. (Your case crossed my desk during the late summer, when temperatures routinely exceeded 100 degrees.)
As a former resident of Port St. Lucie, I know how hot it can get and how unbearable it feels when you don’t have air conditioning in Florida. I loved living in Port St. Lucie, by the way, and still miss it. And I completely agree with you that if a manufacturer offers a warranty, it should have the parts to support it. (Related: “Multiple, invasive” repairs on my air conditioning unit – can you help?)
How do you expedite a Carrier air conditioner repair?
When your air conditioner breaks down during a sweltering summer heatwave, you can’t afford to wait months for a repair. If your unit is still under warranty, you deserve prompt and efficient service to get your AC running smoothly again.
But it’s a fact that dealing with a warranty claim can be frustrating. So, what can you do to expedite your air conditioner repair under warranty?
Keep your warranty information handy
Before contacting the air conditioning manufacturer or service provider, make sure you have all the necessary details about your warranty. That includes your model, purchase date and serial number. They will ask for this information.
Start by contacting the manufacturer
Factory warranty claims are normally handled by the manufacturer. You’ll want to reach out to the manufacturer first. Call the manufacturer’s customer service department and explain your situation. A representative may be able to assist you faster or offer additional solutions.
Calmly explain the situation
You’ll want to be firm but not pushy. Avoid arguing or screaming, “DO YOU REALIZE WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A HEATWAVE HERE!” Remain respectful and calm. Arguments can stop the process cold.
If that doesn’t work, politely request a supervisor
If you’re not getting service fast enough, it’s OK to escalate to a supervisor. But again, do so politely. A supervisor may have the authority to resolve a complicated issue — or to just get you a repair faster. Remember to get everything in writing. Promises made during a service call are less likely to be kept. But promises made in writing count more.
Take it to the top
You may have to take your case to the CEO of the manufacturer. Make sure you can forward your paper trail to the executive in charge. And again, be polite but firm that you need it to handle your repair quickly.
How long does a Carrier air conditioner repair take?
Carrier should be able to repair most units within a few weeks or less. If there are special circumstances, the company also has the ability to expedite a part to facilitate a quicker repair.
I reviewed the paper trail of correspondence between you and Carrier. It looks as if the company was really trying to get you the part in a timely manner. But it didn’t have the right part for your unit and needed to get it manufactured at its plant in Mexico, according to the correspondence you provided.
You could have forwarded your complaint to someone higher up the chain at Carrier. The company lists the names of its executives on its website. I also have a guide on how to find the phone number and email address of the CEO on my consumer advocacy site. I think a brief, polite email might have expedited your repair. (Here’s my guide to getting a repair, replacement or refund for your broken appliance.)
Then again, maybe not. I reached out to Carrier on your behalf. An executive office consumer liaison manager responded to you quickly and said that, as a “one-time goodwill concession,” Carrier would offer a fan coil unit replacement. But the fan coil wasn’t compatible with your unit. You let Carrier know of your disappointment in writing (which is great because this creates a paper trail). Finally, I received a note from you.
“We received a coil today from who knows where, but it’s in and cooling,” you said. “Thank you so much for helping us. I’m certain you got the dead ball moving. Forever grateful.”
About this story
I realize this story about a failed Carrier air conditioner repair is publishing in the dead of winter. But this case caught my advocacy team’s attention because it could have happened at any time of the year, and we wondered about ways of expediting a repair during extreme heat — or cold. I’m grateful to our entire A-Team — Dwayne Coward, Mel Smith, Dustin Elliott and Andy Smith and his editing team. You’re the best!