A Day in the Life: Servicer Beware

Submitted By: Manny Ortega
Ortega’s Appliance Service

About 10 years ago I became the person in my company who filled in for any staff who was off in the company. Whether staff was out sick or on vacation, I covered the position in the office or as a tech in the field. I happened to be covering for a technician who was on a weeklong vacation and he had ordered a membrane for a wall oven under warranty.  The oven had worked except for some of the keys on the membrane. The part arrived while he was absent, and the customer was hot to get her oven repaired ASAP. 

I arrived at the home and the wife let me in and showed me to the kitchen where her husband was sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. She let me know that in the last two weeks since the other technician had been there, her young son had spilled a glass of milk getting it out of the microwave which was mounted in the cabinet above the wall oven.  The oven was not functioning at all after the warm milk was spilled into the control panel.  Of course, she had not called the office to let us know about the mishap with the milk but still fully expected me to have the needed parts to repair this issue as well when I returned with the membrane.

Replacement parts for this manufacturer were not readily available locally and had to be ordered from out of state. When I explained this to the customer, she went ballistic yelling and using foul language that offended my virgin ears!  She completely lost her mind, and I was not sure what she would do next! While she continued to yell and scream, I quietly packed my things and started heading for the door. I looked over at the husband and not once did his eyes look up from his newspaper. It seemed he was used to this behavior and it did not faze him, or he was just as afraid of her as I was!

Once outside, I continued to my service van while she was following me the whole way screaming and throwing her fit and not caring who heard her! I got into my van which made her anger and the expletives spewing from her even worse!  She then started beating on my driver’s window before I could even start the van to drive away. 

I quickly drove around the corner and called my office to inform them of what had just happened. Next, I contacted the manufacturer to make them aware of this incident and told them that my company was not going to return to this home ever! The representative assured me we would not be dispatched to this home again and she would contact the customer. There were only two service providers in Albuquerque, NM for this manufacturer so my final call was to my competitor to warn him about this enraged woman and suggested he should decline when the manufacturer called him.  

The customer representative for the manufacturer called later to assure me that my company was not required to go back to this home and would be compensated for our time.  She shared with me that if she ever talked like this woman did, her husband would slap her! She agreed that this woman was really that bad and she did not blame me for refusing service to her.

When my tech returned from his vacation, he agreed that there were some issues with this customer when he was there, but it did not bother him and he assured me he did not think she would hurt anyone. I could not believe what he just said after my experience! The next week I received a call from my servicer friend who I had warned not to service this woman.  When I answered he was frantic! He shouted that he should have listened and not gone because she was crazy! I could hear her yelling at him and beating on the window of his service van!

In over 38 years in the appliance industry, I have so many memories that include the good the bad, and the ugly that I could share. Maybe next time, I will tell you about the woman who held a knife on me because her microwave was not repaired.

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