UPS Fraud in Furnace Parts

Page 1 of 3  
I seem to be dealing with an online retailer who has access to parts that failed factory QC tests. His goods arrive with a note saying if the part arrives broken, it's the fault of UPS and it's the buyer's responsibility to contact UPS. Then he sends another even if the buyer has repeatedly asked him not to, by phone and email. As a result, he buys one part wholesale and bills the buyer twice for his retail price and shipping. I'd like to know who to contact.
Here's what happened. Saturday, November 19, my house was cold because the hot-surface ignitor in the furnace had cracked after fifteen years of thermal shocks. If on Monday I learned I would have to order one, Thanksgiving delays might leave me without heat more than ten days.
I ordered one immediately online from a mom-and-pop business. They advertised a sale on the model I needed, although the discount was small. It would arrive the day before Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, neighbors and I tried to figure out what the filament was made of. As the ignitor was useless, I was not at all gentle. Like an iron alloy, it was very strong and somewhat flexible.
On the internet I learned that the material is recrystalized silicon carbide, known for its strength and resistance to thermal shock. NASA uses it.
The package arrived the 23rd, covered with "FRAGILE!" stickers. Inside, crumpled newsprint surrounded the manufacturer's box, which had no such warning. In the box, the ignitor was surrounded by foam rubber, a common precaution against being dropped on concrete, for example. Heat marks showed that Quality Control had tested it.
Those unexpected "FRAGILE!" labels scared me. I carried it to the table as gently as a thin-shelled hen's egg. When I opened my hand, I saw that the filament was broken in three places. I was certain a shock had cracked it before it arrived.
In the dealer's box I found a folded warning tucked in at the side where the newsprint had hidden it. It wrongly called the filament glass and said it was so fragile that the customer shouldn't touch it. It said he'd broken a few himself, but very few were broken in shipping. If one arrived broken, it wasn't his fault because he had inspected it, and the customer should put in a claim with UPS. It gave a phone number.
The warning then gave several reasons it would be the customer's fault if the ignitor failed soon. I wondered why the warning had not been on top, where the customer would see it first, why none of this information had been on his informative website, why the manufacturer had included no warning, and why he insisted that his visual inspection guaranteed there had been no cracks in a material with a gritty surface.
I emailed them to say it was broken and ask how soon they could send another. They replied that they were sending another. I replied to say I didn't want another because I had found a local outlet. I phoned a few minutes later. The wife said she was reading my message and would cancel the shipment.
It wasn't easy reporting the damage to UPS. The process seemed to be for shippers, not receivers. Two days later, November 25, I bought an ignitor and, after six days, had heat. UPS acknowledged my claim. They seemed to think I was the shipper, not the receiver.
It seemed to me that the problem was really quality control, and blaming UPS was unfair to consumers as well as UPS. November 28 I emailed the dealer to say my new ignitor was working fine, and I thought the broken one must have come from the factory with invisible cracks. I said I thought the manufacturer could catch such defects with a machine that would cycle ignitors several times while monitoring current draw.
He replied that he knew UPS had damaged it because he had inspected it. He was sorry for my trouble and would ship me another one. I replied asking him not to send another one because I already had a new one, but I thought the factory had a quality-control problem that could be fixed easily.
I checked my email at 1:30 PM the next day, November 29. At 5:45 AM, he had sent a message informing me he was sending another ignitor. I immediately replied, telling please not to send another because I already had one.
At 4:30 PM UPS sent me a message that he had told them to pick up a package he was sending me. At 6:30 PM I read the email and and immediately phoned the dealer. I left a message on his machine stating my name and telling him please not to send the ignitor because I didn't need one. The next day, UPS tracking informed me that he had given them the package two hours later, at 8:30.
In 48 hours they have not showed the courtesy to respond to my email or my phone call. They sent me an item which I never asked for and in two phone calls and at least three emails over a period of seven days, I asked them not to send. I presume they have charged my credit card without authorization.
I think I am dealing with crooks who have caused me a lot of trouble, misused my credit card, told me to file a claim against a company I don't think is at fault, and caused me to spend Thanksgiving with my house at 48 degrees. What do I do now?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Dec 2005 18:58:18 -0500, Sawney Beane
<Countless lines of absolute blibber blabber crazy shit spewed forth by Sawney Beane deleted>

Find a reputable licensed hvac contractor in your area and start calling them and stop futzing with shit you have no clue about. You got exactly what you paid for. That had to be the funniest post Ive read in a long time. Cant really believe I read it all. Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why don't you go back to alt.hvac with the rest of the losers there. You are of no use here, it seems.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't touch the surface of the Hot Surface Ignitor with your skin. It has been known for at least 20 years that will lead to premature failure. If you don't know what you are doing, you would be better off hiring a contractor to fix it for you. It would certainly be faster and you would get a warranty as well. If you want to save LOTS of money, turn the furnace off and leave it off. Then you won't need to buy parts on the internet.
Not trying to be a harda--, just surprised what some people will do to save a little money.
Stretch (HVAC contractor in South Carolina)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Now that's a much better presentation!
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stretch wrote:

Like you, the local HVAC people seemed to think I should leave my furnace off indefinitely. I turned to the internet to keep from catching cold. I would have been glad to pay more locally.
Last summer lightning hit my chimney and killed my AC. The 24V 3A fuse was blown on the computer board in the furnace. To isolate the problem, I disconnected the 24V leads going to the thermostat and put in a 5A fuse. I would be standing by the power switch and the bigger fuse would be less likely to blow instantly.
I found there was a short on the board and called the HVAC company. I had a stool ready so the repairman wouldn't get his butt cold and dirty.
He expressed gratitude for the stool. Then he saw the disconnected wires and chewed me out. It seemed to go on for ever. With my lifetime of experience getting into trouble, I didn't argue because that would not have assured him at all.
He said the trouble was that HVAC men don't neccessarily adhere to color codes, so he had no idea which wire went where. I said I could tell him. He asked how. I said I'd made notes and diagrams of the wires I'd removed, but it probably wouldn't be necessary to get my notes because I'd used masking tape to fasten the thermostat wires in the proper order. He said he would have done the same.
I said I thought lightning had shorted something on the board. He asked how I knew. I said the transformer had hummed. He asked how I'd known it was the transformer. I said I'd put my finger on it. He tried it and agreed. He said he needed to hook things up anyway. I told him the order of the blower leads and checked my notes to be sure. This time the humming stopped. I said the short had probably burned open. He agreed.
I told him I'd rebuilt the computer board after a flood seven years ago. I said finding sources for the components had been a hassle. He said that he simply replaced boards because a factory instructor had told him a DMM would zap the semiconductors. I said I thought that information was obsolete. I said it was true when I had started, in the days of VOMs and germanium, but nowadays it seemed all a tech had to watch out for was static.
He shook my hand and apologized for getting mad. I would have been mad, too. I'd left the wires undone because I hadn't realized wiring could confuse a pro. I was glad I'd met him because I found him honest, competent, and reliable.
I could have gotten a new board through the internet for $150. He quoted $400 and a wait of just as many days. I bought from him because I trusted him. I said I'd like one of those diagnosing boards because it would be good to be able to phone and tell him what was wrong if I ever had trouble. He agreed that it would be a good choice for me.
Two weeks ago the board said it was an ignition failure. One component on the burner had one thin wire. The other had two fat wires. A sensor wouldn't need two fat wires, so that was the ignitor. It read open on a DMM.
I called the HVAC company. Their machine gave me a cellphone number in case of emergency. I was pretty cold, so I dialed it. That machine said they'd get back to me. After sitting by the phone two hours in a cold house, it was hard to unbend my legs to stand up. Apparently they were unwilling to speak to a hypothermic man on a Saturday. I wouldn't be able to check until Monday, and I was afraid the ignitor would have to be ordered, like my computer board. I wanted to be sure I could get the part Monday, but nobody I knew could think of a place that sold furnace parts. The uncertainty that I could get it locally drove me to the internet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 00:53:35 -0500, Sawney Beane

So many lines of uttter bullshit. You are a tight ass and got exactly what you paid for. A good HVAC company will have almost every igniter on their truck (or at least one that will work over the weekend). I can get any parts house to open up at night or on a weekend for a fee of $0 to $100 depending on the store. You are cheap and didnt want to do it and didnt want to pay a guy overtime. Spend the money or go play on the internet. Its you choice. Just stop whinnin and bitchin like its someone else's fault. ITS YOURS. Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bubba wrote:

Hello, Troll.
There's one company in this area that services my brand. In June I paid them $400 for a board I could have bought for $150. I figured meeting their price was like paying a laywer a retainer. If I had an emergency, they'd know I was a customer.
When my furnace wouldn't burn, I didn't think about the internet. I phoned the HVAC company. Their machine gave me a cell phone number. I called that number and got another machine. I explained that my house was cold and I needed an ignitor. I sat in the cold by the phone two hours, waiting.
I would have been willing to wait until Monday or later to get heat, but it looked as these people were not even willing to talk to me. Did I go shopping online? No, I went around the neighborhood asking if anyone could recommend an HVAC man. I didn't get a single lead.
I returned home and found that somebody had hung up on my answering machine. I called friends and relatives. The only recommendation I got was for a part-time HVAC man who lived 50 miles away and didn't deal with my brand.
That's when I went online. Four days later I phoned the HVAC company where I used to be a generous customer. The woman recognized my voice and said she had returned my call Saturday but got my answering machine. That was her excuse for not being willing to speak to me when I needed help.
The high markup I paid her company was money down the toilet. Judging by the number of recommendations I got, arrogance like yours and hers must be very common in the HVAC industry. I'm glad I found a reliable, helpful dealer on the internet. He's a prince among HVAC men.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 03 Dec 2005 00:09:08 -0500, Sawney Beane

Still just more lines of utter nonsense. $400 for a board that you could have gotten for $150. Are you forgetting that you didnt know it was the board until the service man diagnosed it and had the part on his truck? You didnt know what was wrong and you didnt have that part in your basement stock, did you? You dont really think that a company on the internet is going to sell you a board for the same price that a hvac company is going to charge you when they have it on their truck and will install it with a warranty do you? On top of that, you probably called him on a weekend. Do you think we all sit next to the phone on the weekend waiting for your call so we can spring from our chair and rush right out to your bullshit call. Id bet you dont even service your unit and only wait till it breaks before you start calling and begging someone to come to your rescue. Now you say you went walking the neighborhood and asking everyone if they had a service company they would recommend? You are so full of shit. You never did that. What? You trying to tell me that you live in a town where everyone has a wood stove to heat their home? I think you are a whinner. I hope you enjoy your internet company. It should be interesting when your furnace breaks on a cold winter nite and you call your internet company for service. Have fun, Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bubba wrote:

You seem to have difficulty reading. If I'm any judge of character it's because your mind is chock full of pure knowledge.
I told the service man what the problem was. He asked me how I knew. I told him about the thumb on the transformer. He told me I was right.

The service man told me he'd have to order it and his price would probably be a lot higher than what I'd found.

I called him early on a Wednesday afternoon. He worked me in about the middle of the next morning.
It was hilarious. My neighbor's air had gone out Sunday. He'd called Monday. The reason the service man got to me in less than 24 hours was that he had to come to the neighborhood anyway, for my neighbor, who had called 72 hours ago.
He came to my house first! My neighbor didn't think that was fair. Then we shot the breeze half an hour as my neighbor paced his yard across the street. Then the service man drove off without stopping at my neighbor's! Eventually he came back and told my neighbor it would cost him $8,000 and he couldn't get to it for a few days.
My neighbor was already pretty mad, so I lied. I told him the service man had fixed mine and the temperature in my house was so low I had to wipe condensation from the outside of my windows to see out.

I used to have it serviced. I'd paid $300 for a new board in 1992 and again in 1995. When the board failed in 1998, I realized if I wanted it done right, I'd better do it myself.
I could see that the factory service center had used zinc chloride when they replaced the SCR. They hadn't washed it off. It had drawn moisture from the humid air, which created acid, which ate the traces. I was amazed at the cascade effect of the malfunction: SCR, relay, rectifiers, snap diodes, a 32-pin DIP IC, and stuff I don't remember.
The manufacturer treated the schematic as a secret, but as you probably know, you can go online to get the specs for the components, then use a dual-trace scope to find the problems. My repair certainly outlasted the factory repairs for 1/10 the cash outlay.

I live in a town where people haven't had good experiences with HVAC service.

I think you're a winner, too! If I'm any judge of character, your contempt comes from having to deal with people who know much less than you. I'll bet you do first-rate work. If you would post your phone number, I could recommend you to my neighbors.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Wanna make me...............Bobby? Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ah! the mouth matches the name so well.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I'll take that as a "No" pussy. Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

LOL
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If this is a true story, I hope they kissed you because they sure as heck ............
Find a local supplier and buy what you need. Fight the CC battles and get your money back.
And a very important side note. Wear gloves when you handle the igniter. The oils from your hand can cause a premature failure if any part of the "ceramic" is touched. Learned that one the hard way.
Colbyt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

I've never had one fail due to touching it. Rough handling, yes
I can't see a little skin oil doing anything to the silicone carbide. After a split second of heating, no oil.
http://www.supco.com/images/pdfproductsheets/Ignitors.pdf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

I am far from an expert in the field. Repeating what I was told after a very premature failure that was not repeated after wearing gloves. Was told that the oil causes overheating.
Colbyt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Colbyt wrote:

It made me suspicious that the warning, apparently intended to be read after the customer had handled the ignitor, didn't say *why* touching it would cause failure. I knew skin oil would break a quartz bulb by causing it to absorb radiant energy unevenly, but that wouldn't apply to an ignitor.
When I bought one locally, the distributor said it was skin oil. I suspected that was a myth to explain why some ignitors soon failed. One manufacturer sells nitride converstion kits because repairmen get so many callbacks after replacing crystalized silicon carbide ignitors. I think the failure process begins when stress, shock, or vibration causes a tiny surface crack. If it takes time and perhaps thermal cycles for the crack to grow, the cause is unclear when it fails.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 01:17:28 -0500, Sawney Beane

You're too suspiciuos for your own good. They fail after 5 years instead of after 10. Just stop touching them already.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Terry wrote:

Terry, thanks a lot! The pdf indicates that it's widely believed that a visual inspection will show whether an ignitor is operable. I now believe my online dealer is honest.
White-Rodgers has developed a nitride converstion kit because HVAC men get so many callbacks on installations of silicon carbide ignitors. If the professionals can screw in a light bulb without breaking it, I think they can install an ignitor without damaging it. The skin-oil myth must be an attempt to explain failures where no other cause is known.
Is Supco the only company that tries to expose myths about checking and handling ignitors? If other companies are complacement about the misinformation, maybe they're also complacent about quality control.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.