HVAC (heating and air conditioning) repair can sometimes be pretty expensive, especially if you encounter dishonest contractors who charge unfair prices. Unfortunately, HVAC scams are common which is why it’s important to stay alert while shopping around for a repair service.
Dishonest HVAC repair companies have been caught on camera by numerous TV stings. Watch these videos and you’ll be amazed by what these companies try to pull!
Here are some tips to protect yourself when examining or hiring an HVAC contractor in your own area:
Ask for the Old/Broken Part that Was Replaced: If the repairman informs you that they had to remove a broken or old part from your HVAC unit, tell them you would like to have that part. If you’re skeptical about the work performed, take the part to a certified HVAC repair company and ask for a second opinion.
Watch Out For the Phrase “Free Tune Up” When Looking for a Contractor: As noted by the Better Business Bureau, many HVAC repair companies offer free estimates, which is nothing out of the ordinary. The companies you need to avoid, however, are the ones that offer free tuneup services. These may sound like great deals but in reality, these companies are attempting to trick you into ordering an unnecessary service that is extremely costly. If you ever notice this, move on and continue your search.
Beware If Contractors Want All the Money Up Front: Some contractors or companies might ask you to make a down payment before the repair begins then make a second and final payment when the repair is complete. This is nothing out of the ordinary, however when a company asks to be paid all up front before the repair even begins should be a red flag. These companies have the reputation of charging an absurd amount and then doing a poor job on the repair.
Be Skeptical About a Low Price Offer with a Time Limit Attached: The limited time low price offers may sound like a great investment when in reality, it’s just another scam. Like mentioned by Angie’s List, contractors that state “if you buy now you’ll save this much” are probably not telling you that it will cost even more money when they have to return to fix the HVAC unit a second time. This is just another scam in their playbook that you need to avoid.
Investigate the Contractor and Ask for their License: When looking for a HVAC repair contractor or company, make sure they’re licensed. You can even ask to see their worker license when they come to the door. Also check out customer reviews online to see how they rate against the competition. If you find a lot of negative comments on their performance, it’s safe to assume that this isn’t a company you want to do business with.
Receive a Written Estimate: By asking for a written estimate before the job begins, you’ll have proof of the agreement between you and the company: a copy of what you paid the company to work on. This can be beneficial if the repairmen don’t complete the job they were hired to do. If this happens, present the estimate to upper management and explain the situation.
Get a Second Opinion: HVAC repairs can be expensive but sometimes it isn’t as expensive as one would think. If you receive a large estimate from a company, call another company and get a second opinion. This is especially crucial if one company tells you to replace your entire system. (Some companies use their repair teams as salespeople to sell new units.) You may be surprised to learn that the work you need done won’t cost as much as you expected.
Make Sure Your Contractor is Certified to Work on Your Exact System: You want to make sure that the person working on your HVAC is certified and experienced to work on your particular model. Check their website to see the units they’re qualified to fix. You can even call the manufacturer who built your HVAC unit to ask if they know anyone in your area certified to repair your unit.
Having a broken A/C or heater is not a pleasant experience and having someone scam you makes it even worse. So when looking for a company or a contractor, remember these tips so you can hire someone trustworthy, honest and qualified to fix your unit.
What do you think of these tips? Did we forget any? Write comments below and tell us your experiences when looking for an HVAC company or contractor.