I’ve been avoiding this post for about 2 months now, but since I have to collect my thoughts before I go to court, I may as well do it here.
Several months back, just before the drywall was installed, the air conditioner went out at the In-Law’s house (where we’re staying). I got to talking with the technician about the system I was going to install. He seemed very excited about air conditioning systems, duct design, air balance, etc., and since the fellow I was working with was not going to be able to put in my system for a few weeks, I asked him if he would be interested in doing my system.
Initially the idea was to have his current employer run the project through his books, but after a bit of thought, he decided he was ready to go out on his own. I would be his first customer. I thought this would be a good win-win: he would get a good reference, and I would get a good deal – as well as help someone get off the ground.
Things went well initially, John was very responsive and timely. And despite some labor issues with hired helpers, John was always conscientious and accommodating. He shared with me the technical reasons and data as to duct sizing and placement, was meticulous with respect to air leakage, and tried to work with me on optimizing the system. Of course there were a few compromises that had to be made to the original plan, and he was absent a few days working on someone else’s project, but we weren’t too far off schedule and the compromises seemed reasonable.
By September 4th he had all of the duct work installed and needed to tie in a few of the supply lines to the main duct run but had run out of tape. He knew I had the spray foam scheduled in 2 days and that all of the ducting had to be 100% before that. He promised he would be back later that day to finish up. This had happen before, so I knew not to expect him the rest of the day, but figured he would show up on Sunday to wrap things up. So I cut him a check for the air handler, compressor, and incidentals so we could get that delivered and installed the following week.
Sunday came and went, and I was getting nervous about the insulation crew covering up areas that John needed to get to, so I delayed them a week. Well, the week passed and still no John. He did send me a few text messages, but he was not responding to pleas to get the job done. Finally on September 16, he informed me that his mother had passed away and the funeral was going to be on Tuesday in Tennessee. He said he would be there Sunday to wrap things up before the spray foam went in. As Sunday progressed I got more and more worried and texted him repeatedly. I was trying to be sensitive to his mother’s death, but had a lot at stake. After not hearing from John on Sunday or Monday, I let it go for a week. This was difficult, but thought he needed time to grieve. I went ahead with the spray foam installation, figuring John could just cut out what he needed access to.
A week passed, and I had the drywall installers ready to go. Still nothing from John. I was losing sleep over this. John had $4,000 of my money, and I had a house to build. I had sent communications to his email, left several voice mails, and even messaged his girlfriend. I decided to drive to the address on the invoice.
Molly and I went out to Rockdale and found a small house on a corner lot in the shadier side of town. As we were sitting out front, Sarah came out onto the patio to see who had parked in front. I got out of the truck and asked her if John was home, she said he wasn’t. I acknowledged my concern for his loss of his mother having passed away, but that I needed to speak with him. She informed me his mother had not died, and that he was at her house. Of course this alarmed me greatly. She promised to have John contact me.
Since it was late, Molly and I went to a café in Rockdale. Afterwards, we chanced a drive by encounter with John – he was there. He came outside and informed me that he had just gotten back from Tennessee and that indeed his mother had died and that Sarah was misinformed. Of course I knew this to be a lie, but didn’t want to press it. John looked and acted very tired and sick and I didn’t want a confrontation. He promised that he would meet me at the house on Saturday to finish the duct work and that the following week he would pick up the equipment and get it installed. I was skeptical, but hopeful.
As the week passed without contact from John I was at wits end. I was hadn’t been sleeping well for months – this was weighing on me heavily. I had made a few threats via texts, and even contacted Sarah again with no results. Finally on October 5th I decided to dig deeper. I knew his father also did air conditioning systems in Austin and happened upon a website that listed a John Muran as a service manager, so I called the number and explained my situation. He promptly called me back and informed me that John’s mother had not died, and that he would have John contact me. Within moments John was on the phone very angry that I had gotten his father involved. I was shocked that he was mad. What choice did I have? After a few heated moments he agreed to complete the job.
I was then informed that the guy he bought the equipment from was not responding. He was trying to track him down.
Then John got sick. When we spoke on the phone he was coughing and wheezing pretty badly, so I figured it was real. Then he was in the hospital with pneumonia. There were a few sporadic text messages to keep me hanging on. Finally he informed me that he was released from the hospital and would track down the equipment.
Finally, on October 25th, I contacted the court to begin filing a claim. You’ll have to stay tuned to see how that goes.