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Air condition installers damaged our table and timber floors

I can’t find any previous posts on this topic so apologies if I am in the wrong area.

We had 3 split systems installed on Dec 9th. This part will be another post as 2 of the 3 units are still not working… Even after they were supposedly reinstalled. Pretty much leaking from the get go…

They actually put the big 9.4kw indoor unit on our hardwood table and proceeded to work on it, fitting the pipes, yanking them around. Consequently 2 deep indentations that broke the surface so will have to be sanded, and when you stand back you can see the indentation of the whole unit.

They stuffed up the the placement on the wall, so took it down then started working on the metal backing plate on our timber floors. This then caused deep scratching into the flooring, they also caused some minor scratching. We reported it to the company.

The aircons had not been installed properly, so the "experienced’ installer came back to reinstall the units. We pointed out the scratches (need a better word than scratches as they are more than surface scratches…) The guy said our guys deny damaging your property, and you already have existing marks on the floor. I didn’t bother responding to that. I said well that’s tough luck, blind freddy can see the shape of the unit on the table, and the metal backing plate on the floor. Also given that they had to do a complete reinstall of the units and the pipework in the roof cavity because of shoddy workmanship, the standard of these installers speak for itself.

The guy went to Bunnings a purchased a Wax furniture crayon and unbeknownst to us proceeded to apply it to the table and the floor. Now what we have is on big waxy circle over waterbased floor sealer, and the damage now stick out like the proverbial.

So after the units were reinstalled, we now have 2 of the 3 units not working, and a fight to get them to attend to the damage.

We then got an email from the company, saying their installers deny making the damage but in the interest of goodwill the installer is offering $800. compensation. The table repairs alone have been quoted at $800. The timber floors have to be sanded so the repairers said they cannot do just a section, they need to go to an “Architectural break” ie a door or something. Consequently it is 70sqm of flooring needs to be done, because it is a big open plan area. Also we can’t be in the house for a few days because of the floor sealer, and we have to move all the furniture out.

I informed the company that our contract is with them, not the installers that they subcontract to. She then asked what “compensation” would be acceptable. I advised we want it fixed. I had given her details of a local floor guy, but she didn’t contact him. I obtained a couple of quotes for them, they range between $2500 to $4500.One is a flooring company, the other is an independent flooring contractor.

Throughout this toing & froing the Aircon company have never even apologised for the botched install, and subsequent plaster damage.

They then sent out a “refrigerant” person to check the units. They are clearly leaking… again that will be another post… He sat at our dining table & we pointed out the damage and he said people don’t generally complain about damage if it didn’t happen. And as we were talking about how obvious the damage was, my husband looked up at our security camera (which I hadn’t thought of) and said and we have proof by way of video footage.

I took some photos off the video (I still have to work out how to back up the hard drive to the computer) and sent them to the company, its pretty damning. It went quiet for a couple of days whilst they were conversing with their contractor. They then came back and said the photo shows a drop sheet was used (which was only used under the ladder) so they will pay for the table repair but not the floor until we give them proof in a photo. The drop sheet is clearly only under the ladder. And our CCTV show them working on that side of the table and handling the metal plate on and of the floor. And you can see there is no drop sheet in the are they are working.

My question is (after this long winded post) has anybody had any experience with tradies damaging their property? I can’t understand why they don’t just involve their Public Liability Insurance. If the guy had just taken it on the chin and made a reasonable offer we would probably have accepted it. Our flooring isn’t cheap, but even if it was that doesn’t give them licence to disregard normal workplace practices.

We have video of their unsafe pipework installation as well, we took that before they came back to reinstall, plus all the other damage caused by the installation.

Sorry this is so long winded, but I am interested in others experiences. Oh and they are coming back on Friday for the 5th time to test the 2 units that have clearly been leaking from the start.

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Perhaps post the name of this cowboy outfit and take legal action.

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Would love to Fred123 but don’t have that type sort of money. I will however be naming the company and letting people know about the actual installation after they have been here on Friday.

We are sitting here using our evaporative aircon & it’s way cooler than the refrigerated aircon we paid $10000. For! Hence no money for legal.

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It sounds like a disaster of a airconditioner install.

Over the last three days we had 6 installed (called heat pumps here) and they left the place this afternoon immaculate.

If it is a timber board floor, only those boards which are damaged need to be made good. This can be done by a good (experienced) floor sanding and finishing company.

What they do is sand the damaged boards in their whole from wall to wall and then only seal/coat the damaged boards from wall to wall. They use the join in the boards as a line to work to and the end product should be that the repaired board look new again. The repaired boards may look slightly lighter than the adjacent unrepaired boards, but they will darken over time. We had similar work done for a wall removal in our old house and only the length of the floor boards affected were sanded and coated. The local company that did ours said that this is how that do insurance repairs.

Depending on the length of the floor boards from wall to wall and the area in question, it should be substantially less than that which you have obtained quotes for.

One can’t expect the company to do the whole floor in the room (or house) as they are only responsible for making good the damage they caused.

Was this the scope of work for the quote for sanding and coating the damaged boards only or for the whole floor to be done?

The table is different and the whole top will need to be sanded back to remove the indentations. An alternative is to use moisture to swell the dents making then less deep, letting it dry and then sanding.

$800 seems expensive for a table…as it is hardwood, I assume that it is coated in estapol/varnish and not shellac/French polish. Shellac/French Polish is expensive to do and need a expert furniture repairer…but a repair on a varnished surface (sanding and recoating) could be done by a cabinet maker or other similar trades.

It might not hurt in shopping around as the $800 seems very expensive and the company may refuse to pay this amount if they think the damage repair could be done for significantly less.

It is possible that don’t want to use their insurance (if they have cover) as their premium will go up next year and over time the increased premiums will be greater than cost of the damage caused. It can also make it harder for them to get insurance in future years as they have to disclose claims when seeking new policies. Usually business insurance is claimed against when there is significant damage (their work causes the house to burn down for example) or there are injuries involved.

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We had a table resurfaced 10 years ago and it was $800 because of size and finish. In my experience one can shop and shop for a better price but the reliable businesses seem to cluster together price wise.

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You can get free Legal Advice for Cosumer issues in every State. We have a basic list on this site:

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The quote they got for the table resurfacing was $1500 They said the company quoted $700 for pickup & return. The quote we got for them was $800 including pickup. The work can’t be done in the house. If this was a cheap table they would have to replace the whole thing. The damage is deep into the wood… it’s not a surface scratch.

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Thank you for that… it’s very helpful.

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The quotes we got for the floor all said the same thing. They go to the first architectural break. You can’t do a patch. This is a deep indentation into the floor, along with numerous surface scratches. And its in an open living area so there is no hiding or blending. It is also aggravated by the twit doing a child’s colouring job with the wax crayon.

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At our previous residence when the piece-of-junk Kleenmaid dishwasher flooded our house, the polished timber floors had to be resanded and recoated.

Suncorp said that they would cover the kitchen, the dining area, the lounge area, and the hallway past the 3 upstairs bedrooms but they would not cover past the doorways, ie, inside the bedrooms, so we paid the charlatans they engaged for the repairs the extra $4,000 to do the bedrooms.

When the charlatans went broke not long after, I took the trouble to contact the liquidators to see if our $4,000 bank cheque had actually been put through the books as the floor polishing business had apparently not been paid for the job, but they called back to say it had been.

So our personal experience is that polished timber floors will be rectified throughout all common areas but not past doorways.

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They can do a strip following the join between floorboards, targeting those boards and the strip between walls which were damaged. It isn’t a patch per say, but part of the room…across the whole room.

You have indicated that 70m2 needs to be done which appears to be the whole room rather than the damaged boards from wall to wall only.

The current rate for sanding and 3 coats of polyurethane is $35-40/m2, (one can assume slightly higher for a repair - say $50). Say the room is 6 metres from wall to wall following the boards, the strip is 2 metres wide, then the repair should be in the order of $600. The aircon company would be using similar technique to estimate cost to repair and if you go to them trying to extend the level of work needed to be done it will get their back up and they are less likely to try and resolve (as they will think they are taken for a ride).

It is possible the $800 offer includes $500-600 for floor repair and $200-300 for table sand and recoating with estapol. This does sound more realistic than the $3300 to $5500 that you have come up with.

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Yes that’s what they mean by Architectural break. The architectural break in this case are the doors.

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The $800 offer was to cover the table after we sent photos and they couldn’t deny causing that damage. I didn’t “come up” with that figure, they are actual quotes. If the company had any regret for the damage they caused they would sit down with us and have a discussion instead of deny deny deny until oh wait you have video footage.

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With sanding to any depth to remove the scours they could leave a noticeable depression between the repaired and already good side. This is not usually a satisfactory result or approach when timbers require a deeper sand to remove damage, this would normally mean a sanding and seal to level the entire area to produce acceptable results. If it was just to remove the old seal then yes the process you explain is a reasonable option.

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If the damage is more than a few millimetres deep, it would require board replacement as the loss of board thickness would reduce the weight load capacity of the flooring and potentially impact on the tongue and groove joints.

Often a depression looks significantly greater than it actually is. These can also be sanded, dampened to allow swelling, dried and then resanded. This process I use when doing up furniture (a hobby).

Scratches are a different proposition and either need filling or sanding out.

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Yes… Exactly! As I said I wasn’t happy with all the surface scratches but the deep indentation is the real issue. And it’s right in the middle of a very large open plan living area. AND $10000. worth of cooling not working!

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@kathy2 you may be wasting your time if you continue to try and reason with these careless, arrogant, rude, dishonest, intelligence-insulting, unprofessional, incompetent bottom feeding shirkers. Sadly it sounds like it could have been avoided by using a drop sheet and $50 worth of builder’s board flooring. Oh…and a functioning cerebrum.

Not even having the courage to apologise for an obvious screw up always seems to be a key indicator of general character. Mistakes are an inherent risk to everything; it’s how they’re managed that’s most important. Coming back a fifth time suggests they have no idea what they’re doing.

IMHO the only thing to do is let them try to make it right (to a point, but beware of them further stuffing up their stuff ups) and in the meantime lodge a complaint with your state’s Fair Trading agency and let the process roll. Don’t tell the installer, and if by some miracle they make it right simply withdraw the complaint. Most such agencies are currently inundated due to the number of complaints arising from the huge amount of work commissioned by people drawing down on their super during the early days of Covid so it’ll probably take weeks before you hear from them. Lodging a compliant costs nothing. The video evidence is gold as you can rightly prove what they’re like. Fair Trading is usually open minded to issuing an order to have another company remediate the work at the installer’s expense if they’ve proven their incompetence, which it appears they have through the number of repeat visits without resolution. Don’t organise it yourself unless there are OHS issues, have Fair Trading issue an order first.

If the floor people are all saying the same thing stick with it. There are ‘ways’ of doing it differently for sure but the aim here is to have the floor restored as close as possible to what it was before the installers decided they didn’t need to take the most basic of precautions.

Remember the idea is to have the appropriate reparations made and achieve a reasonable outcome, not to help the installer find a way out so don’t be tempted to make unreasonable concessions to accommodate them. Based on their behaviour thus far they will probably try it on. If they get another company to do any work on the ac don’t be drawn into paying that company directly and receiving a refund from the installer as you then risk not getting the refund and being caught between them blaming each other if the job doesn’t go well again. Ditto the table and floor repairs, be wary of any arrangements that the installer makes as it can get even more complicated.

Thousands of ac units are installed all over the country every year and they don’t end up like this ie it’s not rocket science.

Good luck.

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Hi Kathy, We really feel for you.
Write to bother the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Australia, and the Aust Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating tell them what has happened and ask them to step in and correct the situation, on behalf of all the reputable members.
We Choice members will be very interested if these associations will use the resources available to them and fix the situation quickly.

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OMG, that is dreadful and so distressing for you. We had ducted put in a beach house 5 days ago and you wouldn’t know they had been here except for a tiny bit of plaster ceiling dust on one floor underneath a vent. They were very professional. Please keep us updated and I hope you get help from Fair Trading or someone so you don’t have to sort it all yourself. Good luck.

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Thank you for that information… Good idea. I will send them my notes… We would have had a better job done by an electrician with a cheaper back to back install. The person that came out last Friday was a service technician. He removed some of the gas, as it had been overgassed, but could do an accurate calculation without knowing the length of the pipe installed. Seems that information, which is supposed to be on their paperwork in unknown. This is what started the whole mess in the 1st place.

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