It seemed as if Robin and Vivien Knox were given the cold shoulder by All Energy when their company collected their Kwikot heat pump to be repaired at their factory at Platinum Park, Montague Gardens.
Mr Knox of Sunningdale said that on August 29 he phoned Kwikot about their heat pump as he thought it needed servicing. Kwikot referred them to Haydn Schwikkard of All Energy and three people arrived on August 30 to remove the unit which, they said, needed regassing, and they would braise the pipe where it was leaking. The technician said they would return the unit on Monday September 3.
“At this stage the heat pump was working adequately,” Mr Knox said.
“About 10 days later, having heard nothing, I phoned Mr Schwikkard who said he was waiting to hear if my pump was still under guarantee and he would phone me back. He didn’t, so we put everything on email and sent it to him on September 25. On October 4 after hearing nothing, we sent another email and Mr Schwikkard wrote back that they do not have good news although they dropped the unit at Kwikot for further testing after All Energy regassed the unit, replaced the expansion valve, a four-way valve and a compressor.”
However, Kwikot had no record of the heat pump being booked in.
“The unit is running but not heating. According to Kwikot, they have only had three of these types of failures before and all were due to electrical issues. I will compile a full report which we can then submit to your insurers. I will ensure you have it by Monday (October 8),” said Mr Schwikkard, who earlier told the Knoxes they collected a replacement compressor from Kwikot to test in the heat pump as it is not heating as it should.
“If the problem is the compressor then I will do an insurance claim report for you. It is our experience that if done correctly the claim will be honoured.”
The Knoxes said the heat pump was heating “as we had to drain the hot water into buckets or it would have killed the plants if we had let it run on to them”.
Monday came and went but the unit wasn’t returned.
Despite Mr Schwikkard’s promises the pump wasn’t returned on October 12 either.
Mr Schwikkard said they were engaged by the Knoxes as they were having issues with their hot water supply. “Once on site, it was clear the heat pump was not heating at all. Refrigerant oil was noted at the expansion valve. They had no water and at the workshop we found that the cylinder didn’t have a thermostat and once we replaced it we discovered the element had blown. We replaced it and we have not invoiced the Knoxes for any of the work done. I spoke to Kobus, Kwikot’s technical rep in Johannesburg, who could not help either. I communicated this to Ms Knox and the response was less than polite. We agreed to drop off their unit on Monday but due to work constraints and travel could only do it later. We have been servicing heat pumps for the past six years and have only ever had two units that were not repairable. This is one of them,” Mr Schwikkard said.
Meanwhile, Paul Rawsthorne, Western Cape branch manager of Kwikot, came to the rescue again (“Cleaning up after insolvent geyser company”, Off My Trolley, April 12 2017).
When I explained to him the problems the Knoxes were having with the heat pump and All Energy, he immediately offered to give them one and said Mr Schwikkard would install it as he was one of their preferred agents.
“Apologies to all involved for what one can only describe as frustrating for all parties. The unit would be out of warranty as it only carries a two-year guarantee from date of purchase. We have had very little to no failure of these units. Haydn is our preferred agent as his knowledge of the products is superb. I am happy to give a new heat pump to the Knoxes in lieu of their bad experience. I’m sure Haydn would be happy to install it,” Mr Rawsthorne said.
And so it happened. The Knoxes accepted the offer. Ms Knox wrote: “Dear Paul and Brian, We would like to thank you both for your assistance in this matter. We are very grateful to Paul and Kwikot for their donation of a new heat pump. Haydn’s staff have just completed the installation of the heat pump and all is working, I would like to especially thank Giovanni at your branch who dealt with me in a friendly, polite and helpful way at all times. Please thank him. Brian, your assistance in this matter has been invaluable during a very frustrating time. Once again, many thanks.”
Mr Rawsthorne said it was a pleasure to help.
“Glad you are sorted out. Apologies that you had to go through all that you did. I will pass the compliments on to Giovanni.”
All Energy is no longer at Platinum Park because the Knoxes went to look for them there but Mr Schwikkard didn’t say where they had moved to.