Beware These 7 Common Air Conditioning Repair Scams
Watch out for Shady Practices from A/C Repair Techs
We all depend on our air conditioners to keep us cool in the summer. When they break down, we trust our local A/C service technicians to get them working again.
Unfortunately, not all HVAC companies in the Oconomowoc area operate ethically.
Homeowners are particularly vulnerable to scams, as working with a residential HVAC tech is typically less formal than a contracted commercial AC repair professional.
In order to avoid being scammed by your air conditioning service provider, you need to know what to watch out for when a repair technician arrives at your home.
Here is a list of a few of the most common scams shady HVAC companies will use to trick their customers into spending more money than is necessary.
1. Replacing Parts When They Don’t Need Replacing
A service technician may inform you a part needs repair when the part is perfectly fine. Most of the time, the cost of replacing the part will be so high, buying a whole new unit appears to be the right choice.
A big red flag is when a technician suggests you have several faulty parts. This is very rarely the case. In the vast majority of air conditioner failures, one defective part compromises the integrity of the whole unit. Chances are, multiple parts aren’t functioning because of one part broke
Your best defense against this scam is to seek multiple opinions about your unit.
You can’t be expected to know when specialized air conditioning parts aren’t functioning. Getting multiple expert opinions is your best bet. Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning provides you with the reputable, expert air conditioning repair service you need to get your A/C unit cooling your home once again.
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2. Air Conditioning Service Makes an Offer Too Good to be True
A/C techs may try cheating you—always get a second opinion!
Companies are in business to make a profit. While most of them prioritize serving their customers as best as they can, some will cut any corners to get ahead and make a quick buck. Maintain a healthy suspicion of “free” services or too-good-to-be-true deals.
If a solicitor contacts you via telemarketing and promises a free service or a massive discount, be wary of a “catch.” Odds are, they are steering you toward buying something you never intended to shop for in the first place.
Insist on a Written Agreement
Do not trust a service provider who does not provide a written agreement. Verbal agreements are a no-no. The least you can do is demand written proof so you may have legal recourse should a company backtrack or mislead you.
Use your best judgement—if an offer from an air conditioning service provider sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The service technicians at Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning will not mislead you. We offer you a fair, up-front prices in writing and will never charge more than we quote.
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3. Claiming Your Refrigerant Needs to be “Recharged”
The “recharging” scam is a dishonest technician’s way of unnecessarily billing you for refrigerant you shouldn’t need. If your unit is actually short on refrigerant, it means your unit is leaking. The leak is the source of your problem, and your technician should tailor their service accordingly.
If you allow your technician to merely fill your unit (“recharge”), he or she is kicking the can down the road. They hope you continue to call back for repeat service calls, billing you without actually fixing the problem.
Know the scammers’ language! Your home A/C unit does not need “recharging.”
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4. Selling You More Refrigerant Than You Received
Another common refrigerant-related scam exists. Sometimes, a home air conditioning service will bill you in full for refrigerant, but short you upon installation. Once you’ve had them back out to fix the error, they profit from two service bills instead of one.
You can nip this scam in the bud by paying close attention to your technician as he or she installs your unit. Refrigerant is measured in weight.
The jug holding the refrigerant must be weighed before the technician fills your unit, and he or she should record the amount. When the jug is empty, the technician should then weigh the empty jug. The difference between the two weights is the amount of refrigerant poured into the unit.
Closely supervise this process to ensure your service technician isn’t trying to deceive you!
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5. Pushy, High-Pressure Sales Are Never a Good Sign
Scammy HVAC service techs may mislead you about your refrigerant.
According to HVAC technicians hoping to scare you into paying way too much for services and parts you don’t need, a cracked heat exchanger isn’t the only stick of dynamite that could blow at any moment. If at any point a technician resorts to scare tactics to sell something on you, do not give in. Chances are, they need to scare you into buying from them now because they’re scamming you. They don’t want to allow you time to get a second opinion.
Unless your unit is visibly on fire or stuffed with nitroglycerin, it doesn’t present an immediate threat to your mortal safety. You have time to get multiple opinions. Don’t let an AC technician scare you into paying for services you don’t need.
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6. Up Front Cash Payment Is a Big Red Flag
No reputable HVAC company asks for payment before providing you with any services. If a repairman asks for payment up front, he or she might try to take the money and run. There is no reason for air conditioning repair companies to employ this policy unless they’re hoping to get away with something.
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7. Watch Out for the Bait and Switch
Unscrupulous HVAC companies will attempt to generate more business by making "offers you cannot refuse" such as discounted services or products. Once they've gotten in the door, shady techs will take advantage of this time to sell you on other services, or mislead you on the condition of your unit to sell you more than you expected.
At Hot Point, we never charge more than we initally quote. Beware of HVAC companies lowballing their estimate. They often run into "unexpected" and expensive complications.
Remember, if your unit is damaged or needs repairs, you have time to get multiple opinions to verify the problem and compare costs. If you have an installer or repairman out to your home on a specific promotion or special offering, stick to it and don't add on until you get a second opinion.
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What Can You Do to Stop Scams?
There are two straightforward ways to avoid being scammed:
- Know and trust your heating and air conditioning service provider
- Always seek a second opinion
Hot Point can offer you peace of mind. We guarantee your air conditioner will not malfunction during the season we maintain it. If your unit does fail, we will repair it for 50% off. Stick with Hot Point and you can be certain your home will stay cool and you will never be scammed!
Avoid scams by contacting the air conditioner repair technicians at Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning.