TLDR: Our local elevator company is shitty. I just want to vent and to put something out there on the internet that maybe someone researching their elevator options will find.
Most major companies have a pretty good handle on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). You may love or hate the company, and agree or disagree with the causes they support, but at least most of the big corporations I’ve encountered can put up a decent, professional front.
Not so our Hawaii branch of Kone. I serve as volunteer executive director of a very poor non-profit. We have one elevator, which we of course need to keep in service for ADA reasons, aside from the fact there are times when we need to move large objects that would be a pain to move up and down the steps.
We pay Kone about $470 every quarter as a “maintenance fee” - a HUGE sum for us. (Our annual budget for EVERYTHING is $80,000.) In exchange, we get nothing: if they need to service the elevator in any way, we incur several hundred dollars worth of charges. They tell us we are required to have a maintenance contract under Hawaii state law so we simply have to pay them the quarterly fee.
Recently they proposed installing a new phone system for us, one that would be cheaper than paying Hawaiian Telkom a monthly fee for the elevator’s emergency phone. Installation was going to be expensive - $600 or more, as I recall - but then our phone bill would drop.
We asked them about their CSR and said that we serve children, making us a good candidate for a lot of CSR programs. We were told by their rep that they do indeed have CSR programs, and in fact they are targeted at children! To wit: on Oahu (not our island) they do elevator safety education for school kids.
Really? That’s all you guys do? (To be fair, if you look up the Finnish parent company, they have a few CSR initiatives in Europe, but we’re talking Kone USA, not to mention Hawaii specifically.) No offense, but children safely using elevators is not one of the burning social issues of our time.
Anyway, after we did our best to convince them that we are a worthy cause, they said they would install the new equipment for free and then give us a $25/month discount on the phone service they would provide. YAY.
Then, they said, “Oops, your elevator system is so old we can’t use the new system. So we won’t be installing it.”
A pity they didn’t figure that out BEFORE we went through the rigamarole of seeking a discount, but oh well, these things happen. So we asked if they’d give us a break on the quarterly maintenance fees instead, since they had promised us an in-kind donation worth close to $1000 this year.
They said nope.
While I understand that no company is obligated to help us just because we’re a non-profit, I still think this experience is … not good.
Someone from Otis wrote me a while ago, just after Kone promised us the free installation. I said “no thank you, we shall remain loyal to Kone because they are helping us out.”
I’m gonna reach out to the Otis guy now.