SOS: cold house, cold shoulder of the HVAC installer | Just ask us

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It would be hard to fault Matt Miron for hiring Home Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning to install a few new thermostats in his Fitchburg home.

Home Comfort owner James Chancellor was the one who installed and maintained the home’s geothermal heating system when the house was built in 2009, he said. Presumably he knew his way around the works.

Miron would realize that he had made a mistake of nearly two years.

Miron, 39, said the chancellor told him in December 2019 that he could install two Nest thermostats, one of those “internet of things” gadgets that, among other things, allow users to adjust the temperature from their home remotely.

The Chancellor did not show up for the December 23, 2019 installation appointment, Miron said. In fact, it wasn’t until July 2020 that he was able to put them on – or at least try to. During his visit on July 23, the Chancellor found they would not work, Miron said.

In their place, Chancellor sold him two Lennox thermostats for “$1,100 cash installed,” Miron recorded the timeline of home thermostat woes which he compiled and shared with SOS.

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But “from the date of installation it could not display them properly on my phone,” he said.

More problems with equipment and installation, including a week in April without heating, followed, Miron said. Finally, he cut the Home Comfort cord and hired another company last spring to install working thermostats, he said.

Then began the second act of the saga: asking the chancellor to collect the Lennox thermostats (which he did on June 22) and asking him to pay back his $1,100 (which he had not done when Miron contacted SOS in late October), Miron said.

SOS emailed Home Comfort and Lennox on October 26 and received an email from Lennox two days later saying he had already been in contact with Miron and would be “happy to contact Mr. Miron”. The Chancellor did not respond and Miron told SOS on November 1 that he had not heard any boos from Lennox.

So SOS called the Chancellor on November 3 and left a message. The chancellor called right back to say that the first check he had sent to Miron had gotten lost in the mail, but in the previous days he had sent a second.

SOS was prepared to drop the case – and any column relating to it – as it appeared the Chancellor might have been induced to act before SOS became involved.

Then Miron said he received the check, dated June 24 and postmarked November 5. It was $752, he said.

On Nov. 11, SOS emailed and texted the Chancellor giving him the opportunity to clarify his Nov. 3 statements and request the remainder of the $1,100 refund for Miron. The Chancellor responded the same day saying that Miron’s version of events contained “slander” and “untruths”, or “part of the truth”, and that “there are text messages from Matt proving lies”.

His lawyer would be in touch, he told SOS, but by Sunday that had not happened. The Chancellor had also failed to respond to SOS’s follow-up email and text message on Friday.


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