Browning Equipment Inc

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Browning Equipment Purcellville Accused of Unethical Practices & Unprofessional Business Conduct
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PURCELLVILLE, VIRGINIA -- On July 11, 2008 Browning Equipment Inc of Purcellville, VA performed a generator service call on our property dispatching one technician and one salesman for approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours. The salesman, [snip], spent that time speaking with us and did not perform any work. In fact, he had cancelled several appointments stating that the technician was not available and that he was unqualified to perform the work himself.

We received an invoice dated 12/10/08 for 5.2 hours and have disputed the invoice because we feel the number of hours is misrepresented since only one half of the team was working that day. Their response to my dispute was that they felt the actual time spent was more like 8.4 man hours on that day and that they had a signed service ticket to prove it !! Since it is clear that they are doubling the charges for the time spent by one man we requested a copy of the service ticket. Upon inspection of it we have found an altered document with many handwritten notes bearing dates subsequent to the date of the service call with no hours indicated on the ticket other than a handwritten number 488.3 which appears in the hours field of the invoice but is undated.

Further, within two weeks of our sending a second letter of dispute we received a visit from the Clarke County Building Inspector, [snip], who stated that he received a complaint of a generator “improperly installed and bearing no County inspection sticker.” As [snip] continued to elaborate on the details of the complaint it became clear that he was reading the handwritten notes from the Browning Equipment service ticket verbatim which introduces yet another issue, namely that if Browning was able to identify the problems observed in their service call well enough to relate it to the Building Inspector, then how come they didn’t fix the problem or insist we hire an electrician to fix the problem? And why did they continue to further the notion that a surge suppressor was necessary to correct the problem at a still greater cost? In short, we now believe there is a question not only with regard to their billing practice but also with regard to the quality of their technical ability and their professional integrity.

In summary, the best thing that has happened to us is that the Building Inspector did clearly identify and explain the nature of our problem to us and that it took no longer than thirty minutes to inspect the generator, transfer switch and the main and sub electrical panels inside our home. He has committed to working with our electrician to correct the existing problems which Browning apparently left in an uncorrected, and perhaps unsafe, fashion on the day of their 7/11/08 service call.

We have requested, again, a copy of the original service ticket but it has not been received as of this date nor has there been any further communication from them, other than the malicious complaint to the Clarke County Building Inspector(in which no irregularities were uncovered)which arose over an unethical billing dispute.

Can you please make others in Loudon and Clarke Counties, Virginia aware of the unprofessional conduct of this company so that they are not compromised in the ways that we have been? We have also filed a report with the Better Business Bureau.

Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter.


Company Response 04/17/2009:
I am writing on behalf of Browning Equipment, Inc. in response to complaints by mummwalek. The facts are as follows:

Browning Equipment is a farm, lawn & garden equipment dealership which also sells and services generators. We have served Loudoun County, VA and surrounding communities faithfully for 69 years. On July 1, 2008 Mr. Ralph Walek came to our store in Purcellville to ask for our help with a nine year old Generac home standby generator which had experienced repeated failures to an internal circuit board, requiring expensive repairs each time. He specifically asked about our pricing for shop rates and service calls. We agreed to schedule a service call for July 11th and on that day the generator service supervisor rode along with the technician as a courtesy to help investigate the curious failures. There would be no charge for the supervisor’s time.

The generator system’s function was thoroughly tested and its interface with the home’s electrical system was studied before the end of the service call. The technician and supervisor spent further time reviewing the problem with technical service experts at the Wisconsin Generac headquarters. Two of the failed circuit boards were retrieved from Mr. Walek and shipped for the factory for analysis. The determination was made that the burned circuit boards were caused by electrical surges, from nearby lightning strikes, which were being picked up by extended wiring from the residence to a detached shed and to a further detached three car garage. The wiring of the additional structures was not done with the expected subpanels and circuit breakers in each structure, but directly from the residence’s electrical service-without surge protection.

After diagnosing that the unfused wiring of the secondary structures likely caused the circuit board failures over the years, we offered to order suppression devices to be installed in line to protect the generator. Mr. Walek told us to proceed with the order.

After a delay in availability of the ordered suppressors, we scheduled their installation for October 10. On October 9th, Nancy Mumm postponed this service appointment because Mr. Walek was unavailable. She committed to call and reschedule.

On December 10, after no call from Mrs. Mumm, an invoice for work to date was generated and mailed. Since that time, two letters have been received from the customers and one return correspondence was mailed between them in response summarizing the events as I am doing now.

Mr. Walek and Mrs. Mumm have paid nothing to Browning Equipment. Their second letter states “all electrical work done on this property has been carried out by a
licensed electrician and inspected by Clarke County”. A call to the Clarke County Electrical Inspector found otherwise.

Beyond their failure to pay for any services rendered (which ultimately identified their wiring problem so a solution can be pursued) Mr. Walek and Mrs. Mumm have proceeded to broadcast slanderous complaints about Browning Equipment over various internet sites.

Who is the unethical party here?
     
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User Replies:

jktshff1 on 2009-04-03:
Very well written post, thanks
Anonymous on 2009-04-03:
well written indeed. Good luck with this.
Concerned Citizen in Bluemont on 2009-04-03:
This entire episode has been nonsensical, but then again what would you expect from a bunch of lawnmower jocks?
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