My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Minnesota
First, thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.
On May 12, I called a Heating/AC company to ask about purchase and installation of central AC for my home. The salesperson, who is also the owner of the business, came out the same day and after looking at my furnace, electrical, vents, thermostat and the back yard he quoted me a price ($3,000). I accepted his quote and made a deposit of $1,500 by personal check. At the same time, we scheduled the installation for May 22 and I was told that the entire installation would take 4 hours.
On May 22, the installers arrived at 8am as scheduled and began work. At approximately 10:30 they informed me that they were finished and when I expressed surprise at how fast it was, they explained that the AC wasn’t done, because they weren’t able to do the electrical work – they had simply installed the product in my furnace/back yard. I asked when the electrician was scheduled to arrive (assuming he would be there any minute) and was told someone would call me from the office. I waited about 30 minutes (still hoping someone would show up) and called the office. The person I spoke with said she didn’t know that an electrician was needed for my job so it hadn’t been scheduled. I didn’t understand how any job wouldn’t require electrical work, so she said that she thought they were replacing a unit instead of installing a new unit. She then said that an electrician would have to come out another day and asked when I could be home. I explained that I had already taken time off work to be there for the appointment that day and didn’t want to take more time away from work. After some discussion, I came to the conclusion they were not willing to correct their error by sending someone outside of business hours and agreed to an appointment with the electrician at 8am on May 27. Later that day, the owner/salesperson called me back to apologize for the mix up and explained that the scheduler was new in her job.
On May 27 at 9am, I had a voice mail message from the office informing me that the electrician was “running late” and would arrive at my home between 10:30 and 11am. At 11:10, I called to find out why he still wasn’t there and was informed that he wasn’t coming at all because he was ill. I asked to have the owner call me back. He called me back at approximately 12pm and was very apologetic. I told him that an apology would have been acceptable at 9am that morning, but after sitting home with no call for 3.5 hours I wasn’t interested in more apologies and just wanted to get this project finished.. I also stated that I would not be willing to take more time away from work, so the job would have to be done after 5pm or on a weekend. He said that he would call me back. At 3pm, he left me a voice mail message saying again that he was sorry and that they would be out at 8 am on May 28 – the next day. I called him back and explained again that I would not be taking more time away from work to get this done, and he would have to send someone after business hours.
On May 28, I didn’t hear back from the company.
On May 29, I left a message with the receptionist/scheduler asking to have him call me back. He did later that day and (again with the apologies) told me that someone would be out Monday June 2 at 5pm to review the work needing to be done. I asked why this was necessary since he had done so on May 12 and he didn’t have a reasonable explanation.
On June 2, the electrician arrived at 5pm and looked around the house. He stated that he would return on June 3 at 5 pm to complete the job.
On June 3, I called the owner at 5:15 because the electrician had not arrived and was assured that he would be there soon. At 5:36 he arrived and began work. At 6:23 he informed me that the electric circuit was complete but that he didn’t have time to hook up the thermostat and would return the next day (June 4) at 5pm to finish.
On June 4, I called the owner at 6pm because the electrician had not arrived and was told that he wasn’t coming. The owner stated that his daughter was supposed to have called to tell me this. I checked my incoming call logs to verify that she had not called. He stated that they would arrive today June 5 at 5pm but if I could be home to meet them at 4pm that would be great. I reiterated that I wasn’t going to take additional time away from work. About 30 minutes later he called again to ask me to be home by 4pm and to apologize for the no show again. Again I stated that I would be home at 5pm.
In summary: I have a central AC unit installed in my home that does have electrical service. It is not wired to my thermostat so I cannot turn it on or off. I have paid them $1,500 of a quoted $3,000 job. I have spent a total of 7 hours waiting for late or no-show workers and they have spent a total of 4.5 hours working in my home (11.5 hours of my time thus far) – the total time commitment of the job was quoted as 4 hours.
1) If they do come and complete the work today, can I take them to small claims court to recoup the cost of the time spent waiting for them? At the very least, I feel they owe me a “trip charge” (typically $100 to $120 in the town I live in) for the two no show/no call appointments.
2) If they do not complete the work today, can I hire someone else to do so and deduct the amount that work costs me from their quoted amount?
3) If they do not complete the work today, can I require them to remove everything and restore my home to the state they found it in and fully refund my deposit?
Again, thank you for reading and any advice you can offer.