Surcharges Leave Me in The Cold

by Barry Moltz on November 24, 2010

It’s the beginning of winter in Chicago, so it’s time to get our furnaces checked.  I called Northern Weathermakers because they provide skilled service and always show up on time.  I had been a very satisfied customer…until this visit.

Northern Weathermakers charges $124 to come out to clean the furnace.  I think this is expensive because for my house in Michigan it only costs $65.  But this is the city and I pay for value.

When I came home, I noticed an extra charge on the bill for $45 that said “Attic”.  When I called customer service to inquire about this surcharge (which I was not told about ahead of the visit), she told me it was because he needed to climb a ladder (about 4 steps) to get to the furnace in the overhead crawl space.

Now I am unsure how much more difficult it is to clean a furnace while standing on a short ladder, but does it require a 36% hidden up charge?  Two things are wrong with this:

1. For it to cost 36% more to clean the furnace in an attic seems very high.

2. When making the appointment, they should ask whether the furnace is in the attic and disclose the up charge.

When I called customer service to express my concern, she tried to sell me a future service so I could get a discount on this one…not exactly the answer I was looking for.

Surcharges are never a good idea especially when they are not disclosed.  Charge more to cover a higher expense but not just to increase you profit margin for nonsense things.  Be flexible.  Go beyond what the customer expects and you will leave them satisfied every time.

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