Dallas Woman Spends Two Weeks Without A / C, Then Meets A Caring Business Owner

The woman and the man needed to help each other, but for very different reasons.

She needed him because she was stuck in the new house she bought this year during the thick summer heat for two weeks with a broken air conditioning system. Its new home warranty aside, no one would fix it.

He needed her because he took over a bankrupt air conditioning business, and he’s trying to right the wrongdoing of the original owner that led to the business’s bankruptcy.

He hasn’t been involved in any of this, but says he feels bad for all of the previous clients who have been abused. He wants to make up for it by seeking to earn penance for the past sins of the business. Or to use another religious expression, he seeks redemption through suffering.

Patonia Rhule from South Dallas meets Aron Finn from Frymire Home Services.

I presented them, hoping for a perfect match. Patonia told me that her air conditioning had broken and no one wanted to fix it. She stayed in a hotel with her two children for a few nights, but the bill was $ 400. As the new owner, she couldn’t afford it. For the rest of the time, the family relied on box fans.

Aron took over Frymire as co-owner and general manager a year ago. He read my 2017 story on the company in which I detailed my own issues with Frymire from 1998. In that story, I called the former Frymire team a “parade of boobies masquerading as air conditioning repair technicians “.

My battle with them was personally significant because I took the home builder who hired them to small claims court for my first serious consumer dispute. I won and then taught all of my neighbors how to do the same. In some ways, it was the childhood of me to later become the watchdog.

After Aron took over Frymire, he contacted me. “I think I owe you a debt,” he said, “in that the business I now own has not provided you with exceptional service. I have to say that you were not the only customer to express their dissatisfaction with the service provided by Frymire at the time.

His management team, he said, “worked tirelessly not only to provide the best service and experience possible, but also to rectify the past actions of our predecessors. This applies to both our customers and our employees.

He added, “We still don’t get it right the first time every time, but I can say, wrongly, that every problem is ultimately resolved to the satisfaction of our customers. “

Let me give you a vivid example of how Aron is trying to change Frymire culture.

The old company gained national attention years ago with a billboard that read, “Your wife is sexy.” He added: “Better get the air conditioning fixed.”

Aron edited the post. “Instead, we installed a billboard for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that said ‘Frymire cares’ in pink letters. This is the message we are trying to get across, not “Your wife is sexy”.

‘We apologize’

In Patonia’s case, it blames its homebuilder Ameritex Homes and the builder’s designated home warranty company, in this case Airtron, which is owned by the utility company Direct Energy.

Direct Energy spokeswoman Christina Allen reviewed the case and replied, “We apologize to Ms. Rhule for the time it took to repair her air conditioning unit. His experience does not match our customer service goals. We got the service call just before Labor Day weekend and made a service call to his home on Tuesday, the next business day when we resumed normal hours. We regret that she had to spend a long holiday weekend without air conditioning.

Patonia retorts that she was without fresh air for two weeks, not “a long vacation weekend”.

At Ameritex Homes, President Tara Williams refused to speak to The Watchdog, but spokesperson Stacey Wirtjes of parent company Winchester Carlisle Companies sent me a detailed log of all the times Patonia filed a claim for redress. and the number of visits made by Airtron electricians and technicians. his home.

I have counted four air conditioner repair requests by Patonia dating back to July. I counted seven service visits to his home to apply fixes that were not working.

The builder’s spokesperson told The Watchdog: “We are disappointed with the time it took to diagnose Ms Rhule’s CVC, and we have made changes so that other owners do not have the same experience. in the future.

“Extremely undersized”

I knew Aron had a big heart because he and I worked together a decade ago on a similar build failure. I told the story of an old man from Fort Worth who was ripped off by two brothers. The couple promised to fix the foundation and only did a light caulk and patchwork of thin concrete. They took the man’s money, $ 19,000, and didn’t finish the job. It turns out they were ex-convicts.

What made this particularly noteworthy was that Canadian reality TV star Mike Holmes got involved. Holmes has made a career of fixing shoddy work by incompetent builders and teaching consumers how to be smart.

Holmes’ team brought together Lowe’s, the plumber Roto-Rooter, and Perma-Pier, a founding company where Aron worked. Aron took charge of the project. This is how we met.

More recently, when I spoke to Aron about Patonia’s fate, he jumped on it. His guys immediately brought in three window units as a temporary fix. His team performed a diagnostic test and determined the air conditioning system was “significantly undersized,” he said.

A few days later, his team removed the old unit and installed one that was twice as powerful. They also redone the work of the ducts.

He said he felt particularly bad for Patonia because she had moved into his house during the horrific February frost and had no hot water.

Plus, he added, “Texas in the summer without air conditioning? I mean, come on! And she works from home, so she had no respite from the heat.

I asked Aron what the retail price of Patonia’s work was. He did some math and told me $ 11,700.

He did not charge Patonia anything. She is ecstatic.

It’s quite a transformation. Frymire goes from villain to savior. A $ 11,700 job is a lot to lose for a business. But it is a penance. Redemption through suffering. For each of them, a perfect match.

After two summer weeks without air conditioning in her new Ameritex house, Patonia Rhule learns how her new system works from Aron Finn, owner of Frymire Home Services. He came to repair and replace what the Airtron warranty holder, owned by Direct Energy, could not do.(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

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The morning news from Dallas The Watchdog Column is the 2019 winner of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ top column writing award. The contest judge called her winning entries “models of storytelling full of suspense and public service.”

Read his winning columns:

* Help the widow of Officer JD Tippit, the Dallas Police Officer killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, to be buried next to her late husband

* Help a waitress who was injured by an unscrupulous used car dealership

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