Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to Pat Rucker’s letter in the Sept. 3, 2012 issue “Using ACCA Contractors Would Result in a Different Outcome,” concerning the NBC air conditioning contractor sting.

Your Workers’ Actions Reflect on Your Firm’s Reputation

While I appreciate Pat Rucker’s apparent acknowledgement that if only ACCA members were used in the “Today Show” HVAC report that the outcome may have been different, I have to disagree with his statement that ACCA should have backed away unless only ACCA members were used. Imagine how other industry associations and business groups would have responded to a stacked report that included only ACCA members. Even though I currently serve as senior vice chairman of ACCA, I did not participate in the NBC report on behalf of, or as a representative of, ACCA. NBC asked both ACCA and NATE if they could refer them to a reputable contractor from New Jersey that might be willing to serve as the on-air expert for their report. Both ACCA and NATE suggested that NBC reach out to our company.

Neither ACCA, NATE, nor anyone from my company had any input in the selection of what contractors were called to the subject home. We had no advance knowledge of who was answering the service call until about 30 minutes before they arrived and the producer announced their name.

The report serves as a clear reminder to HVAC contractors (both ACCA members and nonmembers alike) that it is very important to know what kind of moral compass each of our employees has and how that reflects on the reputation of our businesses and all of those we employ. Hire for attitude and train for aptitude.

Our service manager and one of our service technicians joined me in assisting with the program. We all took the position that we were not simply representing our company, but instead, our entire industry. One of the reasons that we got involved is that we wanted to make sure that all technical aspects, including the rigged repair, were professionally and fairly presented so as to give the best chance for a competent contractor to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, six out of six contractors, despite finding the problem within 5-10 minutes, all told the homeowner that additional repairs were required to get her unit repaired and running that day. If nothing else, this report shows the importance of clearly differentiating between a required repair and a recommended, proactive repair.

Membership in a trade association does not make a business a good one. Active participation in such a group can help, but it still comes down to the people you hire to work in your business and the standards you set and maintain.

As a member of ACCA for over 30 years, I know that I would be very naïve to believe that all ACCA members conduct themselves in the most professional manner at all times. However, I know that those members who actively participate in ACCA at the local and state level and also attend ACCA’s annual conference and other educational programs and belong to MIX Groups will best position themselves for success.

Bobby Ring
Meyer & Depew Co. Inc.
Kenilworth, N.J.

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Publication date: 10/29/2012