One of the biggest fears we often hear from homeowners is getting ripped off by HVAC companies of unreliable repair guys. Many HVAC companies have been doing this but what’s tough to know is that numerous homeowners still fall for their scams.
Today in the article, let’s deep dive into the different HVAC scams. There’s nothing we hate more than hearing about another homeowner getting scammed by air conditioning companies. It’s time we bust their fraudulent tactics and become wiser homeowners.
What are common scams run by heating and air conditioning service providers?
Unlicensed HVAC professionals who sell cheap equipment
Be careful of people purporting to be part of HVAC companies but are actually unlicensed, not bonded, and are most definitely uninsured individuals. They would try to sell you cheap HVAC parts and convince you to throw your money for generous offers. Note that these unqualified individuals could also be selling fake items that can cause danger to your appliance.
Recycling HVAC parts for repair
Watch out for licensed HVAC professionals who recycle used HVAC parts to replace the broken parts of your HVAC unit. While they may come from a legitimate, you could be paying the price of a brand-new item only to realize later that they’ve actually just used an old spare part.
More frequent tune-ups
One of the most common HVAC scams today is one where an unscrupulous HVAC contractor suggests having a tune-up every three months. They would make you believe that the tune-up is necessary to avoid hazards and keep things in order. If you keep it this way, you could be spending threefold more than your ordinary HVAC maintenance.
In truth, a tune-up is only needed once a year. Succeeding tune-ups are just schemes for contractors to make extra money at your expense. To prevent this type of scam, be more knowledgeable about HVAC. Get basic technical knowledge about things surrounding your HVAC so you can’t easily be fooled by seemingly good offers.
Unnecessary refrigerant recharging
Be suspicious when an HVAC contractor advises you to recharge your refrigerant for the HVAC to function normally. If you do this, you’re not fixing the problem. In truth, there is only one scenario when your HVAC suffers from low refrigerant –leakage. If there’s a leakage, you don’t need to recharge the refrigerant. The proper solution would be to fix that leakage so your HVAC cools up again. Again, a little knowledge of your HVAC could save you from a lot of trouble.
Unnecessary part replacement
Another popular HVAC scam is when contractors would advise you to get part replacement even when not necessary. Imagine how many homeowners could easily fall for this scam. That translate into more money for HVAC companies. What’s worse is that contractors would take your HVAC system for repair and charge you but no actual repair has happened.
We know for sure that molds can easily form in moisture-reach areas of your home and your HVAC unit is not exempt. Con artists would pretend to check your air ducts and report mold infestation when in fact, there’s nothing there. Then, they would offer to remove the molds for hundreds of dollars or more.
Asking for upfront payment before rendering services
Contractors asking for upfront payments before repair should raise a red flag. Some companies practice this and provide a legitimate repair service afterward. But it’s hard to trust just anybody today. So, be wary of requests for advance payment and probe more about the company before letting go of your money.
What should customers be wary of in order to avoid getting scammed?
With so many companies out there, it’s hard to tell which one is legitimate. So, here are some tips you can follow to avoid getting scammed.
- Know who’s calling. Most HVAC companies have outbound call centers that occasionally offer HVAC parts. Be aware of your HVAC maintenance schedule and have basic technical knowledge about how it works. That way, you don’t easily fall into some common HVAC cold-calling scams.
- Always know your contractor. Hire a trusted technician for your HVAC. Make sure they are bonded, insured, and licensed to do HVAC repairs. Don’t be afraid to verify information from the company.
- Do your research with the company. Every HVAC company now has Facebook pages or websites where you can check information.
- Check for reviews and feedback, which will give you a little background of their services.
- Be stiff and knowledgeable. Most HVAC scams are too persistent. They will insist on repairs or parts replacement using high-pressure tactics that you can barely escape. Skip being kind and play the stiff role. Verify information, and do quick research on what the repair is all about – whether it’s a fan replacement, refrigerant recharging, or complete repair – it’s your job to know. Scammers often avoid customers with knowledge because they know they are hard to fool.
- Ask for second opinions. When scammers offer you repair or replacement advice, try to seek second opinions. A trustworthy company will never try to sell you parts or repairs that are not needed. A reputable and reliable AC contractor would also be willing to show you and not just tell you what needs to be fixed and replaced.
One last thing about protecting yourself from the common HVAC scams, make sure to establish relationships with an air conditioning company that is trusted and reliable. If possible, only have one company to do all your repairs and replacement. This will provide an added shield from unscrupulous companies who are trying to rip you off with your money.