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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gain City vs CoolServe: Review of Service

Their names alone betray their company ethos.

Gain City - Who gained? The company did.

CoolServe - Who got cool service? I did.

No... I have absolutely NO financial interest in CoolServe. I am a happy client, no more. CoolServe came by over 2 days (today and yesterday) to install new pipes and insulation. The 2 gentleman who arrived were professionally polite as we discussed my concerns about managing debris from the drilling and hacking of walls. They went about their work quietly (or as quietly as they could, given that they had to drill holes in walls). They moved briskly and purposefully. When they went out for lunch, they came back on time. Today, they lunched in for 10 minutes and went straight back to work. And when they left, they left behind no mess.

The 2 gentlemen are named Messrs Pang Kien Lun and Teoh Gean Keat. I want to make it a point to name them because they are good and honest gentlemen and if readers wish, they could request them specifically.

Contrast this with my experience with Gain City almost 18 months ago. A very uncouth male (going by the digit I-1223) came by with a meek other male. When they arrived, I was at a Seminar. I had to leave my Seminar before it ended because an irate uncouth male insisted that he needed to discuss something important with me. When I got home, I was told loudly and with much gesticulation that what I had wanted done, was impossible to do.

I was about to suggest that if that were the case, he could pack up and go off. I would ask another company to do it because I myself didn't know how to advise him to do his job. Just then, his supervisor arrived and we spent another 30 minutes speaking loudly to each other. The supervisor then assessed the situation, planned out the steps and instructed I-1223. And so, after many words and much waste of time, work began.

After the supervisor left, I timidly shared my concerns about dust and debris. I have quite a few expensive books that needed protecting. He made some disrespectful noises and waved my concerns away and just simply went ahead to make a mess. I had to lay out protection myself.

But that was not all. 3 days later, the air-conditioning pipes poured a deluge onto my bedroom parquet. I called Gain City and was told that even though the installation came with a warranty, the warranty did not cover deluges caused by pipe condensation. Hence, Gain City would not come back to fix the problem unless I paid $160/= more. Feeling quite wronged, I pleaded and wheedled and scolded. As a "goodwill gesture" I was charged $75/= instead. Already fatigued by the very contentious relationship from Day One, I agreed.

What's more, somewhere in the conversation the fellow actually said that it didn't matter what I thought or said... or if I complained to CASE, Gain City was still the largest in the air-con industry and every other player depended on it. In my desperation, I wondered how that was relevant to a conversation where I was pleading with him to put himself in my shoes. It was obviously a bully boy tactic, telling me "Lady, suck it up because we are the biggest and you have no choice."

He was wrong. One always has choices.

Along the way, I also discovered that the Uncouth Male from Gain City was the younger brother of his Supervisor. I requested the company to send another team instead... one where brothers weren't looking out for each other at my expense. But Gain City ignored me and I kept seeing the same team again and again.

I came away with the impression that Gain City's manifest warranty was a dud. I came away with the impression that Gain City considered money ($75/=) more important than client satisfaction. I came away with a phobia of loud voiced and uncouth workmen who bull-dozed themselves over me, deaf to my gentle remonstrations and attempts at civilized dialogue. I concluded that Gain City listens not one jot to its clients. They bung in a system... no matter if it ain't good... It's the client's fault for being too stupid to understand that for cheap price, you get thin insulation... and therefore condensation builds up in the pipes, collects in pools in the concealment troughs and when enough water builds up, splashes onto the floor like a pail up-ended. Madam, it's your own fault, not Gain City's.

In my defence, I had no idea what thin or thick was. The salesman had said that he had upgraded my insulation to a thicker one, and I said ok. One expects the experts to recommend and put in the correct materials such that deluges do not happen. In my defence, the other competing quote at that time came from CoolServe and Gain City was slightly more expensive. It just goes to show that more expensive is not always better.

I was so traumatised by Gain City that I refused to have anything to do with this new air-con work order for CoolServe. The Husband arranged it all. When the CoolServe gentlemen came, I ignored them completely.

But these 2 workers from CoolServe were as gentlemanly as the Gain City ones were thug-like. These 2 workers were as conscientious as the Gain City ones were slothful. These 2 workers were experts in their trade and earned my respect merely by doing a good job. And when they left, they gently told me "We have a 12 month warranty on the piping we have laid. If anything goes wrong, please call us. We will come back".

I felt like kissing the CoolServe man!!

I hope that my review of my service experience with these 2 companies will sensitize people to the presence of a viable alternative when installing air-cons.


Malar said...

That's really cool to have "coolserve" men!
Well, there are many "gain city" type of company and i wonder why they can still manage to survive! sigh...

Anonymous said...

Petunia, this post is exactly the sort of post that should be shared with a blog that's dedicated to recording accolades and brickbats.

Yr Coolserve chappies sound xactly like my aircon men. They always clean up the floors after service. Recently, they even cleaned up the condo's lobby after putting in a new unit for me but I was quite mad with them, because they used my mop for the bedrooms for the lobby. And I had to get a new mop. Otherwise they are gems!

petunialee said...

Auntie Lucia - Thanks for the recommendation. I have emailed Stephen. The word of warning must reach as many as possible.

redress said...

I have forwarded the story to Hope you will get the recourse you needed. Here it is:

Ivana said...

Hi P, I my contractor advised us to choose anybody else over Gain City. I now understand why. Glad you had your problem fixed with the Cool guys!

petunialee said...

Anybody else over Gain City? That is what I have resolved to do too!

jkcs said...

Hi petunialee,

Could u pass me Gain City management email address or telephone number?
I, too, have headache with their installer's workmanship and they are demanading me to pay for the rework.

my email address is

thanks very much :)

petunialee said...

Jonathan - I am sorry that I kept neither. Maybe you can look at your invoice? Their websites have numbers too...

Anonymous said...

Hi Petunia,thank you so much for your review. Currently I am looking for an AC company to install AC at my house.

Gain City men had came to give me their quotation, but I am planning to call Cool serve tomorrow =)

Thank you!!!

Lee said...

We got Gain City to install Daikin aircons for the whole house, 4 outdoor units and multiple blowers in 2012. The pre-survey team came, proposed the model/locations/pipes and we paid for them. The installation team came and they install Daikin aircons alright but put in totally different pipe sizes and wrong units. Instead of admitting their mistakes, the workers quietly welded the different pipes to hide the mistakes. We found out midway, but luckily by which time, we had paid only the deposit and stood our ground that they must admit and agree to correct their mistake based on what was contracted, before we pay the remainder. Gain City took us to Small Claims. The Small Claims judge ticked Gain City off and order it to reinstall the undone part in the manner/model agreed in the contract. We were further awarded fee reduction for their breach of contract. There you go, my own experience Gain City installation. Caveat Emptor - make your own conclusion.

kiao kiao said...
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kiao kiao said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello Petunia, just to let you know I decided to go with coolserve and will try asking for the men who did your place. Thanks for sharing. Sharon
PS: I know this is an old post but just wanted to thank you.

Petunia Lee said...

You're welcome!

Bryan Tan Wen Tao said...

Staff all retrench left Bangladesh to install n fix the aircon issue. They said we never sign maintenance contract so they refuse to look into the problem even though it is install less than 6 month! Don't buy from them . Service suck!!!