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Friday, December 3, 2010

Loyalty is a Two-Way Street

To me loyalty is a big thing.  Today I was torn between whether to buy a new air conditioner/heat pump from the dealer who had installed my last unit seven years ago (and has serviced it since) or to do business with another.  The dealer gave me a quote on a new Mitsubishi Electric 2 ton unit for $4,000.  The dealer was the first to introduce me to this brand.  The other option was a 2 ton Friedrich at $100 less.  (The type unit I like is a ductless split heat pump.)  My previous unit had been a Friedrich 2 ton.  This time I wanted a 2 ½ ton.  Friedrich does not make such a model but Mitsubishi does.  I called Mitsubishi USA and they gave me dealers in the area.  They did not mention the dealer that gave me a quote, but did mention another.  I called him and explained what I wanted (and what I now had—this was important since copper & electric are already installed) and then went to the web and got specs on the appropriate unit he identified—the 2 ½ ton unit.  After doing this research, I called him back and he gave me a price of $3,500 on the 2 ½ ton Mitsubishi.  Since my other quote was $4,000 for 2 ton, I decided to proceed further and asked the new dealer to come by my house, look at the situation, confirm that electric and copper are compatible with the new unit, and give me an official proposal.  (I noted that a 2 ½ ton would probably be about $300 more than a 2 ton.  Thus, the difference between the two dealers was about $800.)

The new dealer came to the house.  I was very impressed by his knowledge and attitude.  I looked up his company on the web, and customers gave him 5 stars and many kind words.  The company’s own site was professional and informative.  The terms he detailed included “This is an exact quote, not an estimate” with payment due on completion.  Besides the manufacturer’s warranties of 5 and 7 years on parts and compressor, the dealer warranties labor for 2 years.  He emphasized that I could call and cancel any time before the job is projected to be done next Wednesday.  The original dealer called while I was in the yard in this discussion.  I told him to send me a bill for the service call that found my current unit had a bad reversing valve.  I told him that I had decided to go with another dealer.  He asked for the price, and I told him $3,500 for a 2 ½ ton Mitsubishi.  He said that he would get with the distributor and call me back Monday.  My intention is to stay with the new dealer.  I feel I owe loyalty to the old dealer (last year he did not bill me for a repair job that was problematic), but nevertheless I feel he should have been loyal to me as well and not pad the job extensively.  Loyalty is a two-way street.

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