**Prospective customers make sure to do your due diligence FIRST!**
Summary: do your research, and question EVERYTHING before you sign ANYTHING. Get second opinions if you can. Here’s the facts:
-Saturday morning we noticed our furnace was blowing cold air and the fans not turning off, nor was it keeping to the set temperature, and Prostar came up first in my google search for 'Calgary furnace repair' so I called and got Brian (who I've come to understand is the owner); who sent out Andrew. Nice enough guys.
-I was told of the $69.95 call fee, and no overtime rates.
-Andrew spent 15 minutes with our furnace, pulled out his scope/camera to take a look at the heat exchanger and told us it was cracked in several places (showed us an image on the video feed and explained what we were looking at was a crack - we believed him) and had a pen-sized hole, (we believed him).
-He quoted us on a furnace replacement, gave us 4 options starting at $5,200, and highest of $7,600. And that it wasn't cost effective to replace the heat exchanger compared to just going with a new furnace.
-Told us that he could have the furnace condemned if we didn't leave promise to leave it turned off.
-He filled out the bill, charged us $369 to use the camera, gave us a $50 discount, and said if we purchased a new furnace through them we'd also get 50% off this particular service bill, and it would be installed within 24-hours of ordering it - very appealing!!). I signed off trusting his professional opinion and gave my credit card number.
-All of this information was relayed to the landlord, who opted to get a second opinion as he felt the replacement prices were quite high.
-The second company came out on Monday to take a quick look the furnace's location and do measurements, they also noted the serial & model number. Called that evening to let us know that the heat exchanger was actually still on warranty because the furnace is only 10 years old.
-Came back at 5pm to remove the faulty heat exchanger to send back to manufacturer to get the replacement, only to find that there was not one crack - anywhere. It's in pristine shape. Also no pen-sized holes.
-Turns out the only issue was a dirty heat sensor, which he cleaned and the furnace is back to working perfectly.
-I called Brian today to express my concerns over 1) the misdiagnosis, 2) the qualifications of Andrew who saw these non-existent cracks 3) the amount we were required to pay for this service, and 4) had our landlord not requested a second opinion and purchased a new furnace the total of all of this would have been at minimum $5,500 - for a dirty heat sensor.
-He apologized for the misdiagnosis (I appreciate that Brian), he said what we experienced is not how he runs his company (also appreciate the acknowledgement of bad service); I had said I was happy to pay the call fee but not the diagnostic fee as it was false, he said he would speak with Andrew and call me back. He and the other owner(s) committed to refunding us the $69.95 call fee, but not the diagnostic fee because Andrew did have to use the camera (sidebar: apparently 10 minutes on the camera costs $369, even if it's an incorrect diagnosis).
*also noteworthy, I was told that it is not their job to find out if there's warranty in place; and that this is why they don't like getting involved with landlord/tenant situations because another company will come in and rip their work apart. Well, a bad service speaks for itself. (And when my husband asked Brian today if Andrew was a certified journeyman and was qualified to diagnose furnace problems, Brian stated that perhaps my husband wasn’t qualified to be a tenant.)
SO. All of this to say, again, buyer beware. Do your research, and question EVERYTHING before you sign ANYTHING. Get second opinions if you can. I feel it's unfortunate that we all need to be specialists in every field to prevent being duped by the apparent specialists.