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Bonaire/Pyrox multi-appliance Touch Pad Control and warranty service problems with Climate Technologies

By Shocons - 22 August 2008 36

Has anyone else had trouble with the Pyrox ducted gas central heating/Bonaire ducted evaporative aircon Touch Pad Control? I’ve had three of them fail since mid April.

My combined system was bought through the Fyshwick ActewAGL shop in July 2006, and operated well until mid April 2008 when one night the electronic Touch Pad went haywire, and I awoke to no heating. The Touch Pad showed an error code and would not reset. The warranty is with Climate Technologies, a Melbourne-based firm. I rang them, and after a 10 day wait, during our first cold spell of the year, a technician from Natural Gas and Water, the Canberra firm subcontracted to deal with the ACT, came and replaced the Touch Pad, telling me that he was installing an updated model which should handle fluctuations in power (which he said were often the cause of problems in the previous model).

Several days after the installation of the new Touch Pad, the same thing happened again. This time I was able to reset it. Natural gas and Water sent out the same man to replace a corroded ignition line.

[ED – RiotACT, for all your gas heating needs…]

In July, again I awoke one morning to no heating, and again the Touch Pad wouldn’t reset. It was dead–no error code, nothing. I rang Climate Technologies and they told me a man would come from Canberra Natural Gas and Water the next day to check what was wrong. No-one turned up, and when I rang Climate Technologies’ Melbourne office the girl who answered couldn’t find on their schedule the job number I’d been given . After a number of calls by me to Melbourne (CT) and to Natural Gas and Water, Canberra, it transpired CT had never actually passed the job through to NG & W. Eventually after a pretty heated interchange between me and a woman manager at Climate Technologies, a man came out from NG&W and again replaced the Touch Pad. This time it needed re-programming, and he didn’t know how to do that. I was unimpressed by his capacity and his manner, which was offhand to the point of rudeness.

Yesterday, again I awoke to a freezing house, and found that this time the Touch Pad had flipped overnight from HEAT to COOL and the evaporative cooling was on with the fan on high! I turned it off (having established that it wouldn’t reset to HEAT). At 8:30am when they opened, I rang Climate Technologies and was told a man called Ron would come today, and would call me 30 minutes before he arrived. They could not tell me whether it might be in the first or second half of the day. I established that this man was a “senior technician” (their words) and was NOT from Natural Gas and Water, but the Climate Technologies woman wouldn’t tell me the name of his (subcontracting) firm.

No-one called today, and no technician turned up. I rang Climate Technologies at at 3:15 pm to try to obtain some idea of whether he would call and how late that might be expected to be, to no avail–just a bland assurance that I was on his list. I tried again at 4:50, but a recorded voice said call overload meant the call could not be answered. So now I’m faced with a cold weekend after two cold days. I’m asthmatic, and this makes life pretty difficult for me.

This is a long saga. What riles me is that Climate Technologies are perfectly happy for me to lose pay sitting around all day waiting for their subcontractor not to turn up, and seem incapable of reliably scheduling warranty work. After three failures of equipment in four months surely one should expect some attempt at real diagnosis of the underlying problem rather than repeat parts replacements without any real attempt to find a cause of the problems.

The Pyrox heating is great when it works. I just wish it worked more reliably, and that the patronising mugs at Climate Technologies would learn something about decent customer service. Grateful for tips from anyone who has battled them and won.

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Bonaire/Pyrox multi-appliance Touch Pad Control and warranty service problems with Climate Technologies
grunta123 7:37 am 28 Aug 08

Oh, kill me now. My damn heater has stopped working. Again! Yay!

Same problem as before so obviously they have no idea what causes it and they just replace random parts until the problem goes away.

Shocons 8:06 pm 26 Aug 08

Thanks, Grunta123, and all the best to you, too.

grunta123 7:29 pm 26 Aug 08

Best wishes Shocons. May we never have the need to call them ever again. 🙂

Shocons 1:27 pm 26 Aug 08

Further action on 26 August

A technician from Natural Gas and Water turned up unannounced at 7:45 am this morning (a different technician from a different subcontracting firm from the one who came yesterday afternoon; however, the NG&W guy is the one who originally came last April, and in whom I have felt most confidence. I explained another technician was in the middle of dealing with my problem. He said, “I’ve been sent to fix this, do you mind if I check what was done yesterday?” I let him look, and he said, “All he’s done is replace the Touch Pad, but there’s a small plug-in module that should have been installed with the new Touch Pad last July which he hasn’t even installed this time, which evens out the voltage to and from the unit, I’ll put that on and then I’ll also check the main Control Board.” When he returned from the main Control Board, he told me that at installation of the whole system, an add-on module which allowed for zoning of the heating in large dwellings had been left attached, but that in fact it can cause fluctuations in the voltage to the Touch Pad in buildings that are not zoned. He had removed it.

He said he thinks that voltage fluctuations from time to time have caused resetting or have been so high they’ve blown a circuit in the Touch Pad causing it to malfunction and require replacing. He also told me that since the addition of this extra module, which became available several months ago and is additional to a slight modification of the Touch Pad itself earlier in the year (and which he had installed in April), he has not known of any failures in communications between Touch Pad and main Control Board.

The heating is on at the moment. I’m holding my breath and touching wood at the same time.

Shocons 10:28 pm 25 Aug 08

Climate Technologies, Pyrox/Bonaire system service problems

Monday 25 August further Chronology

8:45 I telephoned Climate Technologies and was answered by Kate. I explained that I had not received a service call on Friday as promised. She told me the serviceman said he had called my mobile and there had been no answer. I said to her that my mobile had not rung all day, I had been in my house all day, reception here was fine (3-4 bar) and that the telephone log showed no missed calls since 16 August. Nor had any message been left on my message bank. I checked the number she had for me (which was correct) and also asked her to give the serviceman my landline number. She said she could book me a service call for tomorrow, but not for today. I said I was dissatisfied with that but she said today was booked out. I accepted the booking for tomorrow and told her I would pursue the matter with Fair Trading.

9:10 I rang Fyshwick ActewAGL Energy Shop and asked for the manager (Brad). I related the full history of problems since April, including 4 breakdowns, and service calls from Climate Technologies’ subcontractor, Natural Gas and Water (Cbr)-two in April, one in July and one expected but not fulfilled on Friday 22 August—and, thus far, two replacements of the Touch Pad. I pointed out that I had been without heating for a total of 20 days this winter, with waits for service of respectively 10 days, 5 days and now 5 days again. I explained that on the second occasion CT had failed after booking to forward the booked Job to NG&W, which had extended the service delay by an extra two days and that the NG&W serviceman when he called had been cavalier and after replacing the Touch Pad had been unable to program it.
Brad gave me a fair hearing and said he would follow up the matter by calling CT and making an effort to obtain for me a service call today. He said he thought it likely something in the heater itself might be triggering the reset/failure of the Touch Pad as he believed problems with the pads had been ironed out several months ago, just after Christmas. He also told me that he thought I would find Climate Master a reliable firm to use for routine maintenance.

10:14 Brad called me to say that he had had made a number of attempts to get through to Climate Technologies, with no result: on one number, he learned that the person whom he normally would contact was absent; on another, after hanging on for 10 minutes he was (automatically) told that the volume of calls precluded his call being answered and was cut off. He promised to make further attempts during the day to get through and follow up my concerns.

11:14 Called ACT Office of Fair Trading and left a message for a return call re my heating warranty service problems.

14:30 A woman from ACT OFT returned my call. I told her the chronology of my dealings with Climate Technologies. She advised me I have two types of warranty cover, the Manufacturer’s Warranty and a Statutory Warranty which is the responsibility of the business from which I purchased the heating/cooling system (ActewAGL Energy Shop, Fyshwick) and which covers repair, replacement or refund entitlements. She advised me to write a letter of demand to the latter outlining all of the issues, pointing out that I have suffered 20 days without heating since April, and am proposing to refer the whole matter to the Office of Fair Trading or take it to the Small Claims Court. Recommended the letter be addressed to the Manager of the ActewAGL Energy Shop Fyshwick, cc to ActewAGL Head Office and that it be sent by registered mail with a request for a receipt. Suggested I look at Right It, Write It, a document available from http://www.fairtrading.act.gov.au for guidelines on how to write the letter. She suggested I let the manager of the ActewAGL Fyshwick shop know I planned to follow OFT advice, and ask him in the meantime to pursue Climate Technologies.

14:50 I called Brad and told him I was taking advice from the Fair Trading Office. He said he would try again to get through to Climate Technologies. He also said a letter of demand would strengthen his arm with them. He would get back to me when he made contact with them.

15:08 Ron the technician called me on my mobile and said he’d arrive at my place in half an hour.

15:35 Ron arrived. He was the same technician who had come a day later after I complained to CT in July when they had “lost” the original booking they advised me they’d made with Tim of Natural Gas & Water. I asked him if he’d tried to ring me last Friday, (as I’d been told by Kate of CT). He looked puzzled and said, “No—I only received this job today.” As he had replaced the Touch Pad in July, he expressed surprise to be called back. He replaced it again because the one he’d provided in July had been damaged by the malfunction overnight on 20-21 August, but said he would need to replace the control box at the furnace, as he believes there must be an intermittent fault there that is feeding back into the Touch Pad. He suggested the Touch Pad not be programmed today, but be run on manual until he’d replaced the other end of the communication chain. He was puzzled by the intermittent nature of the problem. Whatever is intermittently going wrong is feeding through the heating electrics.

Ron said he was expecting a consignment of control boxes tomorrow, and would return on Wednesday morning between 10 and 11 am to replace the box with a new one.

My Comments: (1) Twice now, in July and again in August, Climate Technologies have told me they’ve arranged a service call for a particular date, and afterward I have learned that the booking hadn’t been passed on in time for a service call that day. I’ve therefore wasted a day each time waiting in for the serviceman when he didn’t even know he had the job. Each time when after hearing nothing I’ve made a call to CT querying whether the serviceman was going to turn up, they’ve assured me I was on his list. Each time they’ve been unforthcoming in manner, and not prepared actually to contact the serviceman on my behalf, nor to provide me with means of contact. It appears they’ll say anything to fob me off.

(2) I still haven’t heard back from Brad, the Manager of ActewAGL Energy Shop, Fyshwick, that he has actually contacted CT and pressed my case with them as he said he would.

grunta123 7:21 pm 25 Aug 08

Omg. I can’t believe I am not the only one battling with these clowns. I can’t believe this business continues to exist with the foul service they offer.

A couple of weeks ago I had our friend Kate hang up on me when I had the audacity to demand service. I have just had a 3rd visit from a repairman.

The heater would come up to temp in the afternoon when we got home and would error out. Sometimes it would let me reset, other times I had to wrap myself and my family in multiple doonas for the rest of the night. During the last sub zero cold spell, my wife actually had her beenie, scarf and snow jacket on when watching television. Great look for a 6month old heating/cooling system I paid $8K for.

The first visit, they had to order parts. The second visit, he spent 30 mins installing a part that was faulty and had to be re-ordered. Apparently the winding in the new motor wasn’t even connected when he opened it up. At least the old one limped along.

2 weeks later and it took a phone call from me to get the service call booked, I finally have what appears to be a working system (touch wood).

I will not EVER be having a voluntary relationship with this company ever again or anything that they manufacture. Stay away if you can.

Shocons 10:52 am 25 Aug 08

Update Monday 25 August: At 8:45 am I telephoned Climate Technologies and was answered by Kate. I explained that I had not received a service call on Friday. She told me the serviceman said he had called my mobile and there had been no answer. I said to her that my mobile had not rung all day, I had been in my house with my mobile on me all day, reception here was fine (3-4 bar) and that the telephone log showed no missed calls since 16 August. Nor had any message been left on my message bank. I checked the number she had for me (which was correct) and also asked her to give the serviceman my landline number. She said she could book me a service call for tomorrow, but not for today. I said I was dissatisfied with that but she said today was booked out. I told her I would pursue the matter with Fair Trading and with the retailer from whom I’d bought the system.

At 9:10 I rang Fyshwick ActewAGL Energy Shop and asked for the manager (Brad). I related the full history of problems since April, including 4 breakdowns, and service calls from Climate Technologies’ subcontractor, Natural Gas and Water (Cbr)–2 in April, 1 in late June/early July and one other service call (not by NG&W) booked through CT but not fulfilled on Friday 22 August–and thus far two replacements of the Touch Pad . I pointed out that I had been without heating for a total of 20 days this winter, with waits for service of respectively 10 days, 5 days and now 5 days again. I explained that on the second occasion CT had failed after booking to forward the booked Job to NG&W, which had extended the service delay over a weekend and that the NG&W serviceman when he called had been ill-mannered and after replacing the Touch Pad had been unable to program it.

Brad gave me a fair hearing and said he would follow up the matter by calling CT and making an effort to obtain for me a service call today. He said he thought it likely something in the heater itself might be triggering the reset/failure of the Touch Pad as he believed problems with the pads had been ironed out several months ago, just after Christmas. He promised to call me back after contacting Climate Technologies.

At 10:14 Brad called me to say that he had tried two different numbers for Climate Technologies and with no result: on one, he learned that the person whom he normally would contact was absent; on the other, after hanging on for 10 minutes he was (automatically)told that the volume of calls precluded his call being answered and was cut off. He told me that he would make further attempts during the day to get through and follow up my concerns.

Shocons 2:16 pm 24 Aug 08

Thanks Utah, I’ll keep pressing for action (and will push ActewAGL again). RandomGit, did you push the retailer, or just deal with Climate Technologies?

RandomGit 1:58 pm 24 Aug 08

I imagine I have the same system as you Shocons. I’ve had three leak detectors replaced before they fixed the gas leak they were actually detecting (installation error, OMFG!), one touchpad replacement and the one I have now has no sense of time. At one point the day cycle was running at night.

So yeah, the touchpads they make are utterly fubar.

utah 12:24 am 24 Aug 08

Posting here is a pretty good move, too. There’s now a permanent, Google-able record of Pyrox, ACTEW/AGL et al providing sh1tty customer service. If this article ranks higher in Google than their own advertising, they’re in for a serious drop in sales, potentially for decades.

Pyrox, if you’re reading this: fix it RFN, and ask for an update to this page.

Shocons 4:38 pm 23 Aug 08

Thanks for that info.

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:12 pm 23 Aug 08

Under the Trade Practices Act your first stop for warranty rights is the retailer. It’s up to them to make it right with you, and then they go and sort things out with the manufacturer. Tell ActewAGL you want it fixed or your money back. Don’t let them fob you off to the manufacturer, and don’t worry too much about any time limits on a piece of paper that says ‘warranty’ – it can’t replace your statutory rights. You’re entitled to expect a heating system to last more than two years, and that’s all that matters as far as the law is concerned.

Shocons 12:40 pm 23 Aug 08

Yes, it’s still under warranty. I’m determined that Climate Technologies fix the problem before it’s out of warranty, hence my persistence in dealing with them when I’d rather be shot of them. Noted that the ACCC website has good advice on its website in relation to complaints.

fabforty 10:18 am 23 Aug 08

I have every sympathy for you Shocons. I recently started my own thread about my problems with my Brivis heating after suffering a week and a half with little or no heat. Fortunately they came through in the end. It is bad enough to have no heating but to have to waste time waiting around at home and basically being at their mercy is infuriating.

Putting the whole saga down in writing and sending it to the ACTEWAGL shop as well as Bonaire/Pyrox might not help but will at least let you air your grievance.

Is it still under warranty ? Not sure if that would make a difference.

Perhaps you can try the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/142

ant 10:06 pm 22 Aug 08

I don’t have any heating, so can’t offer any useful help. But I always loathed that horrible Pyrox TV ad, with that woman blasting away “singing” some annoying song. Yuck. It was years ago and I still hate it. She had to sing in a yank accent so it was Py-rahx.

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