January 19, 2018 by phicks2012
A few months ago I blogged about my elevator, which had seemed to need at least a check-up. A tech had come out in January of 2016 (only after I begrudgingly paid $300 up front for the privilege), and had basically been rude while doing nothing but disabling the elevator.
It was 8 months later — count ’em EIGHT — in August of 2016 before the company finally sent me a quote ($1450-ish), and at the time I didn’t have the money to do the job. Okay, well, I could have scraped it together, what I had was already earmarked for a more necessary repair, okay? 😉
So, in August of 2017 (about a year later) I called the elevator company back and asked them if the quote I’d been given would still be honored. I was told “Yes”, and that it would be the same amount to do the job. However, they added that they would need to send someone out again to make sure there were no “metal filings” in the gear box, because the manufacturer of the unit insisted that be determined before they could do the work.
I told them I was NOT willing to pay another $300 up front just to have someone come out again with a bad attitude and NOT get the elevator running, so they said they’d waive the visit fee, and on December 28th they sent someone out — the same guy as before, though this time he was at least civil.
On the other hand, as soon as he walked in the door, before even LOOKING at the works, he told me that I should never have been given the quote I mentioned, because there were “other things” that needed fixing before the elevator would be “up to code” and they would be willing to sign off on it. Further, he insisted it had never been inspected when the house was finished, because it didn’t have a “green tag”. My brother says otherwise, but I’m not sure how to prove that at this late date.
The tech was suddenly (still without looking at the hoist elements) throwing out figures like $23K-$25K to get everything done, and (after having a total appoplectic fit) I told him point blank that if that was the case — and short of winning the lottery — I would NEVER be able to repair the thing. I’m not sure he cared though, actually.
Well, he finally climbed up the to attic and checked, and there were no nefarious “metal filings” in the gear box. The oil was pristine. The motor, when checked, also seemed to be running fine, so he said with obvious surprise, that the whole problem might actually be a couple of capacitors, which he said he would order.
Capacitors are DEAD CHEAP. I’ve had to buy enough of the things for A/C units at my rentals to KNOW that, and he told me that if replacing those didn’t do the trick, they could order a new motor for me. However, he said that we’d have to handle the installation ourselves because they couldn’t do “just that” without doing a full job and bringing the elevator up to code. Liability again.
I was fine with that. It’s dead easy to mount the motor (4 bolts) and while the motor was priced at $950 that was still WAY less even than the original quote they were no longer going to honor. Too good to be true? You guessed it!
Yep. Later the elevator company (or another representative thereof) called to tell me that despite what I’d just been told they could NOT order any parts for me, because they would be liable if anyone was later hurt or killed. Funny. Apparently they aren’t liable for honoring their quotes, are they?
When I asked HIM how much to get the thing up to code though, HE said $7k-$8k, which was (if 500% more than my original quote) about 30% of what the other guy had said. Interesting. So, I asked him to send me a new written quote, but made it clear that even if I was able to manage it I wouldn’t be able to do so right away. Nope. I’d have to finish paying off the loan for re-roofing my rentals first, and then take out another loan for the elevator job. Even THEN, I said, I’d want a guarantee that they would honor the new quote, and that if the listed work was done the elevator would be working!!!!
He said “Okay”, but of course he still hasn’t sent me the promised quote.
To tell the truth, I’m not at ALL sure I can trust anything they say now anyway, but this is apparently the only company around here that works on this brand of elevator. Sad, but true, and I’m told that home owner’s insurance will not cover repairs on an elevator unless it’s been damaged by something like — say, a tornado, or a flood, or Armegeddon. I’m going to ask my agent though. Miracles can happen, right?
In the meanwhile, Jason & I planned to get those capacitors ourselves, if we could, figuring if they did the trick we’d be re-enabling the elevator, at least for hauling “things” (if not people) upstairs. If the problem turned out to be the motor, my brother suggested having the old one rebuilt rather than jumping through ridiculous hoops and paying $950 (that’s what the elevator company quoted) to get someone to sell me a new one, so we thought that might also be an option if I could actually find someone who still did that sort of work. I was told there might not be, in our disposable culture.
I did a lot of running off screaming silently.
But today I started calling around to see if there WAS someone to rebuild the motor, and guess what! I found a company in Atlanta (Cole Electric Technologies) that did — only the person I talked to there laughed outright at the quotes I’d been given. $603 for a brand new motor exactly like the one we have, capacitors as well, and that included taxes and shipping. It should be arriving in a few days!!
Wish me luck. If it works, then the elevator Company can only hit me up for a few small items like door contacts to bring it up to code. Serves them right, right? 😉