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Help! RV Staff burnt up motor of new air conditioner and wiring in rig. What should I do?


learn_as_you_go

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Correction: Title should read, "RV Park Staff Member... burnt up motor of my new air conditioner during installation".

Hello,

I have an odd situation and would like to know what you suggest to do.

We had to go full-time into an RV, a bit sooner than expected.
We needed to get an air conditioner immediately due to the climate.

Before arriving at the park, we called and told the park staff our situation and asked for recommendations as to who (locally) might be able to help us get an air conditioner installed upon our arrival. They said, "Oh, we have "Bill" here at the park who does that for our guests". We asked to speak with "Bill" and he called and was very willing to help. Upon our arrival, he told us the local RV place to go and we purchased a brand new air conditioner.

We called one person in town (not Bill) who was advertised as someone who did RV work. He came over, but was very arrogant and condescending, and way overpriced. We are new to RVing, but do know prices of items. He seemed to be out to just 'gouge' us since he viewed us as "newbies". So we didn't go with him.

 

Then we happened to run into "Bill" again, who rides around the park alot, as he lives on property. Incidentally, we learned the office staff are his wife and mother-in-law, and another family member. "Bill" assured us that he knew how to install air conditioners and could do it with no problem and had done it in the past. We still weren't sure, but we were in a tough situation and needed the work done immediately. My husband also went to the office to inquire about "Bill's" abilities and skills, and another male staff member said, "Oh, Bill works for me!" and assured him, "Oh yes! Bill can handle it, he does that work all the time". Bill does work for the park .

Long story short, "Bill", ended up trying to install our brand new air conditioner while we had to go out of town. While trying, he burnt out the motor as well as the ceiling control unit and wiring. He later told us (as we were not there at the time), "it started for a minute and then the wires burned and smoked and it stopped". He didn't tell us initially when it happened, as we were out of town for a few days. When we arrived back, we assumed it was installed and working. It didn't turn on at all, and it was up around 100 degrees outside. We had to call him to find out what was going on .

When we got a hold of "Bill", he told us what happened and tried to blame it on something else, but assured us, "I'll get you another motor". After a week of sitting in heat, he finally brought another motor, that didn't even match the unit. At this point in time, my husband told him, "never mind... we will take care of it ourselves".

So, after we had two RV repair men come and inspect and inform us the damage he did could have caused a fire throughout the rig, we got the parts replaced, the air conditioner installed and all the electrical work checked out / fixed to a cost of $1,100 for parts and labor.

I feel that since the park staff damaged my rig, that they should pay for the repairs. "Bill" and his family (staff) were outraged at the price and demanded why I didn't have "Bill" fix the problem. The family staff member was so belligerent that I was in tears as I left the office. I had dropped off a copy of the invoice which I had requested reimbursement for cost of replacement parts and repairs.

I spoke to the Park owner, who owns several parks, and of course, he disowned any liability whatsoever for the actions of his staff.

What do you suggest I do at this point?

Thank you in advance for time and suggestions.

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My very personal opinion: lesson learned. Move on. You could fight this for months and the fact is Bill screwed it up, Bill doesn't work for the park, Bill probably isn't licensed and a recommendation by the park to use him in no way makes them responsible for his screw up. Even if you sued him and won, he probably has no money so you would never get paid. Life is too short to spend more time on this. Now that you are full-time enjoy it!

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I suspect that your user name may be the answer here. Chalk this up to "lesson learned" and move on. Relying on a "Bill" who is recommended by well-meaning folks but apparently is not affiliated with any type of repair firm or company kind of leaves you at the mercy of "Bill's" abilities. It obviously didn't work out this time.

 

I can't see where you can do anything other than present your case, ask politely for the park to pay for your repairs, and then live with what they decide. Which in this case sounds like a firm "no". I doubt that you have a legal leg to stand on or that it would be worth the hassle and expense of pursuing this any farther.

 

I'd consider this an expensive lesson and work with a reputable repair firm next time you need repairs done. Sorry for your troubles...

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Maybe I didn't make it real clear above.
"Bill" does, in fact, work for the park. He lives here permanently. His wife also works for the park as does Mother-in-law.
They are full time residents and have been so for years. According to another park resident, "Bill" is a 'co-host' of the park.

I don't know if this matters or not. But your points are well taken.

Thanks for your responses.

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My very personal opinion: lesson learned. Move on. You could fight this for months and the fact is Bill screwed it up, Bill doesn't work for the park, Bill probably isn't licensed and a recommendation by the park to use him in no way makes them responsible for his screw up. Even if you sued him and won, he probably has no money so you would never get paid. Life is too short to spend more time on this. Now that you are full-time enjoy it!

Hi Earl,

Actually, Bill does work for the park. He is considered a co-host. He lives here along with his wife (long term residents), who also works for the park, along with Mother-in-law. In fact, all those who highly recommended him, I've since learned, are his family members who work here.

 

Other than this unfortunate situation, I look forward to moving on and leaving them to their own troubles. I've heard this is not the first time he has done this to someone. But.. that is just heresay, although I suspect it is true. Yes, we have learned a good number of little lessons since being here.

Thanks!

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...he told us the local RV place to go and we purchased a brand new air conditioner.... Bill does work for the park. He is considered a co-host...

Hind sight is always 20/20. You did not say why you did not have the RV shop where you purchased the air conditioner install it?

 

Does the RV Park advertise RV repair services? Is the Park licensed and insured as an RV or air conditioning repair business? Do Bill's duties as a park employee/co-host include RV repair or appliance repair? If the answer to these questions is no, then I agree with the others that the Park has no obligation to pay for Bill's mistake.

 

I would doubt that the AC warranty would cover damage from improper installation. Whether they would figure that out or not from the damage and whether you are comfortable with not revealing that information I do not know.

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I believe Earl meant that he doesn't work for the park.. in "that" capacity. It was just a separate side job with no relation to the park itself. Kind of like if you work for a bank, but do a bit of mechanicing on the side. If you did a 'personal customer' wrong with an engine repair they couldn't/wouldn't go to the bank you work at for reimbursement.

 

In a nutshell.. I agree with the others above. Chalk it up as a learning experience and put it behind you.

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About the only alternative that I can see from what has already been suggested would be to visit with an attorney and discuss suing them. Of course to do that you will also need to stay in that area for the time required to take them to court. I really don't see any good answer.

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If you ever have work done again by anyone.

 

Ask for a copy of there current insurance policy

 

If they are legitimate they will gladly give you and the campground a copy.

 

Years ago there was a tech in central Florida that had on his advertisement cash only

 

I bet he never had insurance either.

 

Also see if they are register with the state where the work is done

 

 

Safe Travels. Vern

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I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Sadly, it's the seldom considered "worst case" outcome that is an ever present risk whenever you contract to have work performed. Although you certainly deserve to have had your AC installed properly for whatever charges you originally agreed upon - the chances of you ever collecting the $1,100 of additional costs to finally get the job done right are pretty slim. If "Bob" doesn't offer to pony up - the time and expense of taking him to court won't be cheap. Even a judgement in your favor is no guarantee of actually collecting on it. It sucks to "eat" a chunk of change like that ... BUT, your options present you with no guarantees either. Personally, I'd consider it a lesson learned and move on.

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some of my more unwise decisions involving investments, vehicles, brushes with the law and of course a hot looking blonde have

left me a lot more out of pocket than you, so my advice is it has probably been a cheap lesson learn from it and move on.

 

mick

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Any time you need repairs (at home or on the road) you FEEL a sense of urgency to get the repair done and behind you as FAST as possible with as SMALL an impact as possible on the wallet! We have had repairs done by "an authorized service technician"... that made matters WORSE before the final fix and a had a "local Joe referal"... we thought a bit iffy that did a great job!

 

One thing we ALWAYS do with a NEW item OR one still under WARRANTY is check with the company warranting the item for "An AUTHORIZED service technician" they can always provide names of the nearest one... otherwise you may VOID YOUR WARRANTY! Also, if they mess up something else they are obligated to fix it.

 

ONE suggestion I will make is... without actually expecting anything but remaining hopeful, ask Bill and management if they would at least compensate you for your stay (in part or full). After all Bill was trying to make it right by trying to replace the motor (albeit with the WRONG part) therefore acknowledging HIS screw up... (mistake)! This may help offset your additional out of pocket! Bill should at least be OFFERED an opportunity to pay for the ADDITIONAL PARTS needed for your repair (you would have had the install expense anyway).

 

So sorry you had this trouble... I greatly empathize with ANYONE that has AC problems in home OR a vehicle! I live in TEXAS! We have dealt with our fair share over the years!

 

 

Debbie

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Correction: Title should read, "RV Park Staff Member... burnt up motor of my new air conditioner during installation".

 

What do you suggest I do at this point?

 

 

 

I suggest you don't make the same mistake again. If you really want to "do" something, then consult a professional on what to do, not a group of amateurs on an internet forum. That approach is what got you into this position to begin with.

 

On the other hand, I feel for you. I've done the same in the past by trying to go the cheap route.

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Sorry to hear about your failed install. Like others have said buyer be ware. You hope you get what you pay for but sometimes it does not work out. When using people other than bonded company's to do repair the risk of the repair working or not falls on you. You made the choice to use a guy the park said knew what he was doing so you are reaching to ask the park to take any responsibility. Who was paid for the work? Bill or the park? Sounds like Bill did this as side work. Life is short, move on and learn from what happened. As painful as this is leave it behind and don't let this spoil a great life style.

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RV service work is expensive. There's no explanation for it except that good technicians are in high demand and can get their price.

 

A couple of years ago I needed an air conditioner replaced. First bid was from a popular local mobile tech. He wanted over $1900 to replace the unit. Second bid came from an RV dealer with a two month waiting list. His bid was $1100. Retail price on the a/c and all needed components was less than $600. They were charging a lot of labor for a job which took about 1 1/2 hours to complete.

 

I've learned to do most of my own service and repairs.

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Ok I need to say something. Why oh why do you RV people trust RV techs and RV shops to do your work? They know nothing compared to a true professional hvac or refrigeration tech. I have been a refrigeration and hvac tech for 47 years and worked on many RVs. I knew what I was doing ( still do) and some of our local RV establishments were more than happy to hire me to do the work on the heating and air conditioning systems. They knew it was done right. Local hvac companies are mobile....they come to you. They know how to do the work. They are insured against screw ups and honor warranties. Think about it folks.

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I guess one of the benefits of growing up poor was learning how to fix (or permanently break) almost everything that you own...also how to "make do" with less, but that's another story...we learned how to patch things to make them last and how to replace most of the parts on our cars so now I just automatically start trying to figure out how to fix something when it is broken. Since our "new to us" RV is older I know I will get lots of opportunities to improve my handy man skills. So far we have replaced the roof and a lot of the plumbing. This subject caught my eye because I am pretty sure this is an up-date that we will have to be making in the near future. I think our units are living on borrowed time now and I have began looking at the wiring going to the units and pricing new units. I am so sorry for this posters experience but it has sent red flags up for me to be especially careful about the wiring if and when I endeavor this task!! Unfortunately, as others have said, I can't see much you can do about the situation now. Hope you are not in South Texas where the temps are already warming up to the 90's!!! Hope you get the problem fixed as painless as possible!!

 

With all that being said, we hope to stay out of temps over 75 degrees when we get to go full time so we don't need the noisy things!!! After living in Tx all my life I have had enough 100 degree days to last TWO lifetimes!!!!

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I think this is the same as your neighbor "knowing a guy" that can do the work for you. He is not professionally in that business, but has learned how to do many repairs himself. You decided to have the guy do the work for you and it gets messed up. Is your neighbor who knew the guy responsible -- NO. Only the person doing the work was responsible, and if he refuses to correct the problem your only alternative it to take him to court. That will cost you in addition to the repairs you have already made and there is no guarantee you would get anything. You could be ordered to pay court costs if there is no judgement in your favor.. I'd just be thankful nothing more serious happened and go on my way.

 

Our co-hosts just had a 2nd AC unit added to their trailer a couple days ago and like someone else posted. It was prewired and the persona installing only had to plug the unit in and then snug it down to compress the seal. He did not have to connect any wiring or wire anything himself. The unit was an unducted AC unit - not sure if that makes a difference or not -- was the correct type purchased for the RV ?

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Ok I need to say something. Why oh why do you RV people trust RV techs and RV shops to do your work? They know nothing compared to a true professional hvac or refrigeration tech. I have been a refrigeration and hvac tech for 47 years and worked on many RVs. I knew what I was doing ( still do) and some of our local RV establishments were more than happy to hire me to do the work on the heating and air conditioning systems. They knew it was done right. Local hvac companies are mobile....they come to you. They know how to do the work. They are insured against screw ups and honor warranties. Think about it folks.

 

I've never heard of an hvac company willing to install an RV a/c. Not saying they don't exist, but I bet they're in the minority. Did you install a lot of RV a/c units in your career?

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