R A Dobson Incorporated

★★☆☆☆
  • 12 Bryant Ct

    Sterling, VA 20166

    Map & Directions
  • 703-777-8705

About R A Dobson Incorporated

Categories
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Household Appliances

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My AC, which was installed by Dobson, stopped working in mid August. It's been a hot summer here on the East Coast and we greatly value the comfort of a cool house.

Because we've been long-time Dobson customers and have had a service contract with it, we called it. They came next day. My jaw dropped as the service tech said the entire AC unit/outside would have to be replaced. A wire had rubbed against the copper inside the outside unit, to the point wire the wire was exposed, arched, and created a hole in the copper from which the coolant leaked. A repair would cost $1700 ($990 for coolant recharge alone alone) so they recommended that we install a new unit at $2550...I am taking this figure of Dobson's written quote.

I wanted more information from the tech and was appalled that one wire that could easily been shielded from copper contact could mean a big bill for me. I've had issues with Carrier AC in past and suggested this was a mftrs. design flaw. The service tech simply tired of the conversation, and tersely said "I need our $95 for service call." I said that we have used Dobson for years under a service contract for which we pay $150 a year. "Isn't this covered by the contract," I said. :That only get's you a discount on repairs," the tech said. I wrote the check and tech said he'd call Justin Dobson, CEO of the firm, about the situation. I called Justin Dobson a couple hours later to discuss...never heard back from him.

Along the way, my neighbor gave me the name of an HVAC repairman with whom he'd had a great experience. I called the repairman and the next day, he arrived on time, took little over two hours with unit. He brazed the copper to close the copper line hole, recharged the system with 12 lbs of coolant, did a pressure test, and restarted the system, which is running again, flawlessly.

The repairman said there was no arch, and pointed out that the wire had not worn through. He added that, in his experience, companies like Dobson break even on service, but make their $$$ on upselling and marketing equipment, but that my AC was just fine. He cautioned that the compressor may need to be replaced, but that he could do that in a year or two--when needed--and that wouldn't require a new unit. So there are several lessons here:
- In my experience, Dobson was looking at its own self-interest and not that of the customer. They wanted to take advantage of the situation to upsell a new unit I didn't need.
- In hot summer weather, people simply want their AC fixed and will willingly spend the $$$s to get it done quickly. Outfits like Dobson are aware of the value modern society places on comfort. Some strike while the weather is hot.
- In my opinion, the heating and AC mftrs are looking at a recurring revenue business model where at one time in the past, they built products to last. Is there a sale incentive mftrs like Carrier offer retailers like Dobson if they market x number of new unit sales? I've read of such things in plumbing. This business orientation changes the local retailer's focus from service to sales -- sell the entire unit and forget repairing or replacing the parts. This is an instinct based solely on my experience described here.
- check around for service providers. AC technology, which has become more efficient in terms of energy use and environmental issues is, at its core, old technology. Compress a coolant gas, it gets cold, and cold gases run through a radiator device located in the furnace unit called the A-coil, where the units heating/cooling fan blows air over the cold coil, which then is distributed to throughout the entire house through ductwork. There are plenty of people who are trained and licensed to do this work. Most home owners don't think about heating or AC until it goes out. A relationship with a trusted repair person who has your best interests in mind is of great value when the AC or furnace stops. Trust, at a time when you need cool or warm air in your home and you have an immediate vulnerability, is critical. When you find that person or frim, treat them well. We had a trusted relationship with Dobson 10 years ago. Nice family operation with good people. But over time, it is my opinion that something changed in its business focus, and now, for us, that trust is gone.

There is more. Unfortunately, this site limits the text.

1
★☆☆☆☆

My AC, which was installed by Dobson, stopped working in mid August. It's been a hot summer here on the East Coast and we greatly value the comfort of a cool house.

Because we've been long-time Dobson customers and have had a service contract with it, we called it. They came next day. My jaw dropped as the service tech said the entire AC unit/outside would have to be replaced. A wire had rubbed against the copper inside the outside unit, to the point wire the wire was exposed, arched, and created a hole in the copper from which the coolant leaked. A repair would cost $1700 ($990 for coolant recharge alone alone) so they recommended that we install a new unit at $2550...I am taking this figure of Dobson's written quote.

I wanted more information from the tech and was appalled that one wire that could easily been shielded from copper contact could mean a big bill for me. I've had issues with Carrier AC in past and suggested this was a mftrs. design flaw. The service tech simply tired of the conversation, and tersely said "I need our $95 for service call." I said that we have used Dobson for years under a service contract for which we pay $150 a year. "Isn't this covered by the contract," I said. :That only get's you a discount on repairs," the tech said. I wrote the check and tech said he'd call Justin Dobson, CEO of the firm, about the situation. I called Justin Dobson a couple hours later to discuss...never heard back from him.

Along the way, my neighbor gave me the name of an HVAC repairman with whom he'd had a great experience. I called the repairman and the next day, he arrived on time, took little over two hours with unit. He brazed the copper to close the copper line hole, recharged the system with 12 lbs of coolant, did a pressure test, and restarted the system, which is running again, flawlessly.

The repairman said there was no arch, and pointed out that the wire had not worn through. He added that, in his experience, companies like Dobson break even on service, but make their $$$ on upselling and marketing equipment, but that my AC was just fine. He cautioned that the compressor may need to be replaced, but that he could do that in a year or two--when needed--and that wouldn't require a new unit. So there are several lessons here:
- In my experience, Dobson was looking at its own self-interest and not that of the customer. They wanted to take advantage of the situation to upsell a new unit I didn't need.
- In hot summer weather, people simply want their AC fixed and will willingly spend the $$$s to get it done quickly. Outfits like Dobson are aware of the value modern society places on comfort. Some strike while the weather is hot.
- In my opinion, the heating and AC mftrs are looking at a recurring revenue business model where at one time in the past, they built products to last. Is there a sale incentive mftrs like Carrier offer retailers like Dobson if they market x number of new unit sales? I've read of such things in plumbing. This business orientation changes the local retailer's focus from service to sales -- sell the entire unit and forget repairing or replacing the parts. This is an instinct based solely on my experience described here.
- check around for service providers. AC technology, which has become more efficient in terms of energy use and environmental issues is, at its core, old technology. Compress a coolant gas, it gets cold, and cold gases run through a radiator device located in the furnace unit called the A-coil, where the units heating/cooling fan blows air over the cold coil, which then is distributed to throughout the entire house through ductwork. There are plenty of people who are trained and licensed to do this work. Most home owners don't think about heating or AC until it goes out. A relationship with a trusted repair person who has your best interests in mind is of great value when the AC or furnace stops. Trust, at a time when you need cool or warm air in your home and you have an immediate vulnerability, is critical. When you find that person or frim, treat them well. We had a trusted relationship with Dobson 10 years ago. Nice family operation with good people. But over time, it is my opinion that something changed in its business focus, and now, for us, that trust is gone.

There is more. Unfortunately, this site limits the text.

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They charge me $1290 to fix an A/C leek. $95 to show up, $395 for a pressure test that took 30 minutes, then $800 to fix it. The fix was some solder on a connector and a charge of freon. I asked the tech to break down the $800. He refused. The going rate for a fix like that is $300-$400. They ripped me off ~$1000. I'll definitely never use them again.

1
★☆☆☆☆

They charge me $1290 to fix an A/C leek. $95 to show up, $395 for a pressure test that took 30 minutes, then $800 to fix it. The fix was some solder on a connector and a charge of freon. I asked the tech to break down the $800. He refused. The going rate for a fix like that is $300-$400. They ripped me off ~$1000. I'll definitely never use them again.

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This place offers a variety of services for your heating and cooling needs. I use them twice a year to check my air conditioner and heat pump. They are always on time and they know what they are doing. They were very thorough. Their prices were a little high compared to other companies but, in my view, you get what you pay for.

PROS: Great Service!
CONS:

5
★★★★★

This place offers a variety of services for your heating and cooling needs. I use them twice a year to check my air conditioner and heat pump. They are always on time and they know what they are doing. They were very thorough. Their prices were a little high compared to other companies but, in my view, you get what you pay for.

PROS: Great Service!
CONS:

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