There are always con artists willing to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners. New homeowners and senior citizens are particularly susceptible to AC repair scams. They may not understand how the HVAC system actually works.
How Do You Identify a Scammer?
It can be easy to identify a scammer if you know where to look. Check their bona fides online.
Have no company website or printed business cards.
Demand payment up front.
Use high pressure sales tactics requiring an immediate decision
Have no license or insurance
Have no ratings on Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List
How Do You Tell If a Contractor is Ripping You Off?
Some HVAC companies may try to upsell you or tell you they need to replace perfectly good parts to increase their profit margins.
It helps to keep maintenance and repair records so you know the history of your HVAC system. Understanding how your system works is one way to arm yourself against scammers.
You should also insist on getting a second or third opinion from other companies for comparison.
What Are the Latest Scams to Be Aware Of?
These red flags may indicate that your AC technician is scamming you:
Multiple parts failures
Unconnected parts don’t usually fail all at once. The problem is often one failed part. If your technician points out problems throughout your entire system, they may be padding the bill.
Too cool for the room
If you’re having a unit replaced, make sure it’s the right tonnage for your square footage. An overlarge condensing unit costs you more to buy and more to run, but the HVAC service can charge your more for it.
Home AC units do not require refrigerant recharges for maintenance. If your technician tells you that your system needs a “recharge” without fixing the leak, they’re just setting you up for future service calls.
Fly by nights
Some “construction” companies send salespeople into neighborhoods to sign up homeowners for too-good-to-be-true deals. This scam has been around a while, but unfortunately, it still works.
How Can HVAC Scams Be Prevented?
The best way to keep yourself safe from AC repair scams is to get educated.
Learn to troubleshoot your AC system for simple fixes, such as tripped breakers, frozen coils, etc.
Collate a list of contractors with sterling reputations that you can source for potential services ahead of time. Don’t wait for something to break to look for a phone number.
How Do You Avoid AC Repair Scams?
One of the best ways to avoid getting ripped off when it comes to home repairs is to develop ongoing relationships with reputable companies you’ve come to trust.
Make an appointment with the professionals at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning in Bethel Park for your annual system tune-up. Our expert techs can help prevent future problems, so you won’t be a target for scammers.