Avoiding AC Repair Scams
The HVAC industry is home to many hardworking professionals who want to serve their customers well. And then there are those less-than-reputable “professionals” who cut corners or provide poor service. Some, sadly, even involve themselves in outright scams. A homeowner might spot some scam attempts right away, but then there are subtle ones. Don’t get taken by a shady HVAC company — be on the lookout for these warning signs that a possible scam is afoot.
1. Payments Up Front
In fairness, some HVAC companies suffer losses when they do not receive payment for work rendered. So, a deposit for work performed may be reasonable. A partial deposit coming after signing a maintenance agreement for work performed is likely fair. Paying some additional money upfront when the team arrives with a new air conditioning system and starts dismantling the old one might not be a massive risk.
However, when an HVAC company wants a deposit or, worse, full payment upfront with no paperwork, receipt, or even a start date, concerns should arise. Feeling leery about dealing with such a company may be understandable.
2. Excessive Service Contracts
Signing up for an annual maintenance plan comes with numerous benefits. With the service plan, a yearly inspection and cleaning will take place. Having the HVAC pro visit, check things out once, maybe twice per year, delivers preventive maintenance possibilities and the chance to uncover a hidden problem. These plans may also provide priority service during the busy seasons of the year.
When does such a plan come off as dubious? If the HVAC company pushes for several visits a month to cover an ultra-high annual fee, then something might not be right. The added inspections might not be necessary at all. If most companies only perform an annual or bi-annual inspection, why is one particular company intending to visiting every other month? Perhaps they are trying to drive up their fees for no credible reason.
Consumers looking for an established company in Puyallup, WA, can contact Expert Air Control. We handle all manner of air conditioner repair, maintenance, and installation requests. Please ask about our heating services, as well.
3. Costs Far Above Average Prices
Unfortunately, many consumers receive an estimate and do not perform any research to make sure the stated costs are in line with the regional average. Hopefully, all the expenses are stated, and nothing is hidden, either. Even paying too much for quality service can be a rip-off.
That said, some companies charge more because of demand, reputation, and expertise. Regardless, there are instances where the stated price may be excessive and well beyond what’s fair for the work. Use online resources to determine how reasonable an estimate is before agreeing to anything.
On a side note, beware of companies attempting to pressure a quick sale. Pressure tactics don’t always indicate a scam, but many scammers like to use them. So, consider pressure tactics to be red flags.
4. Attempts to Sell the Wrong-Sized AC or Furnace
Attempts to sell the wrong-sized unit because that’s what the company has in stock is downright unethical. Take steps to find out the proper size for an HVAC system in your home. Otherwise, you might end up with a system either too big or too small for the house.
5. Suggesting Unnecessary Work
Truly unprofessional and devious air conditioner technicians may tell someone that a part requires replacing when it works fine. Replacing a working part or performing any other unnecessary part exchanges are downright dishonest thievery. Even worse would be telling a customer that work was done when no work occurred.
Customers might find themselves scammed with both unnecessary or non-performed work because they must take the technician’s word on face value. The homeowner can’t supervise the work or perform his/her own inspection afterward. So, it would seem this scam is easy to pull off. In truth, there may be a preventive step the customer could take: check the company’s reviews.
Consider Bad Reviews and Consumer Complaints
Customers who discover they’ve been ripped-off may write negative reviews that cover the experience in-depth. Look for local reviews online and see what others have to say about the company’s work. Every company gets a bad review now and then, and, true, there are two sides to all stories. However, a large percentage of bad reviews detailing severe customer complaints should raise alarms.
At Expert Air Control, we put great effort into making sure our customers receive the best service. Call our offices right away to ask about AC or heating work. We also perform duct cleaning and sealing, gas pipe work, and electrical services.