Friday, June 13, 2008

Buyers remorse

That Bruce Tognazin quote I referred to reminded me of an experience I had this winter with a customer. (the names and details have been changed to protect the foolish)

Ground source heat pumps use the warmer temperature of the earth as a source of energy. They are efficient if sized and installed properly. They are also sold as "going to save us all" solutions, which leads into emotional purchase territory. Large purchases. The Canadian government gives a grant of $8000 for an installation. It isn't unusual to have people spend $25-35K on a heating system, and there was a $175K system put in not far from here.

The only problem is that many of the systems don't work. Work in the sense of saving energy, or even sometimes heating the home. They are sized to get the sale, not to solve a problem. One customer has a system that doesn't work, but the esteem given to someone enlightened enough to have such a system is worth the monstrous heating bills. I'm not joking. The system doesn't work. Many don't. But no one complains or says anything because they know they were suckered by a sales pitch, and they convince themselves that they made the enlightened choice. Even if it doesn't work.

The $175K system I referred to didn't work. At least it didn't work during the winter when it was cold. The fellow had a multimillion dollar house at 55F 12C in February. I was told by a customer that I didn't understand such systems and therefore my opinion that it didn't work was invalid.

You see, I deal with this BS all the time. Overpromise and underdeliver works only if people pay way too much money and are ashamed of telling everyone how foolish they are.

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