Identifying & Avoiding AC Repair Scams

Homeowners and tenants alike rely on air conditioners, which are maintained by repair technicians, the ones they can identify as reliable and trustworthy experts in their field, to keep them comfortable during hot weather. However, comfort isn’t the only thing that is worrisome about the temperature reaching distressing levels. Many have concerns about their health and safety. Exposure to excessive temperatures can bring forth ill-effects. So, when an air conditioner breaks down, calling a licensed and insured repair technician with adequate pricing, experience, and credentials becomes a priority.

Unfortunately, not everyone who claims to provide excellent service does so. Some air conditioner repair “professionals” engage in fraudulent activities to take people’s money. Avoiding these underhanded scammers and learning how to spot the warning signs, should also become a priority. Not everyone knows how to avoid them, though.

Here are a few tips and insights from The Cooling Company that might help you avoid falling victim to a scam in your Las Vegas home.

Cash or Credit Card Payments Before Work Gets Done

Repair professionals deserve fair payment for the work they perform. Customers should expect to be treated and charged honestly, too. A trustworthy contractor might request an upfront cash payment before any work gets done. Making a deposit on a new HVAC system with a reputable company seems fair. When someone, whose credentials may be dubious, shows up for an inspection, suggests a minor repair job, and then wants cash before setting a formal time for the repair work, red flags might go up indicating dishonest pricing.

Some companies might ask for a credit card payment over the phone before even visiting to check out the problem. Such dubious practices also raise concerns, and deservedly so.

Not Providing an Estimate

An estimate details the precise work the repair professional with the right experience will perform. The estimate also presents a breakdown of what everything costs. Giving a customer an estimate before starting the job affords ample time to secure funding. Maybe the homeowner needs to take a personal loan to cover things. Perhaps he/she wants to cash a bond.

Most importantly, the estimate lets the homeowner think about what to do. Maybe he/she wants to field other estimates and gather a second opinion. That’s fine. What might not be so acceptable would be someone performing work without any indication of costs and then delivering an incredibly expensive bill for services rendered – another of the fraud warning signs. When not given an estimate, take the lack of paperwork as a big warning sign.

Suggestions About Using Recycled or Used Parts

Putting used parts inside an air conditioning unit is likely to be a terrible idea. A licensed professional would know that the parts could wear out quickly, or they may present safety hazards. Why would a reputable company want to push used parts? Driving the price down might make the repair pro seem preferable. Quality, however, may suffer tremendously with used parts. And the HVAC company’s management should realize such things.

Over-Servicing the System

Cleaning an HVAC system helps it run better while also clearing out the unit and ducts of debris. A once-a-year cleaning seems beneficial. Maybe performing cleaning and a tune-up twice a year would be worthwhile. Quarterly cleanings and tune-ups, however, might be a bit extreme. Is the company trying to charge customers to do additional, unnecessary work? The possibility clearly identifies their fraudulent intentions.

Be wary of companies with intentions of over-servicing the unit. Such dubious business practices might extend to other areas of operation. Homeowners should resist attempts to pressure them into accepting extensive service agreements. Doing so could cost far more money for unnecessary work, another important sign to identify for avoiding fraudulent service providers. That won’t benefit a budget or an air conditioning system.

Over-Charging for Work

Not every company charges the same fee for seemingly identical work. An established, insured, and reputable company with a strong track record may ask for higher costs. That said, there comes the point when the prices are outrageous. Even quality work comes with a reasonable ceiling. These are the trustworthy companies that hire licensed and experienced professionals, have transparent pricing and good business credentials.Homeowners honestly benefit from researching the average costs for specific types of jobs, which might include repairs, dealing with refrigerant leaks, and more. Are you wondering, “What is a fair HVAC repair cost?” If it appears the asking price is far more than what is fair, perhaps, fielding an estimate from another company proves wise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and explore ways to get the best deals. It’s always wise to have at least something to compare with.

Take that as another reason why it is best to see estimates and not pay upfront, too. Estimates from different HVAC companies, including contractors, make it possible to better comparison shop. Las Vegas and nearby residents could ask for estimates from The Cooling Company for AC system installation, repair, and maintenance service inquiries. We also handle heating work, as well as servicing commercial clients, too.

Trying to Sell an Inappropriate AC Unit

An HVAC unit requires proper sizing for a home. Installing one that is too small could lead to an overworked system that runs up utility bills due to excess need for refrigerant–a common issue that contractors often fix. The system might not last very long, either. An oversized unit could cycle on and off too frequently, and it would not be an appropriate unit to purchase. Some HVAC companies, however, might attempt to push an oversized system because the unit comes with a higher sales price.

Inexperience once again presents a problem for homeowners. They often take the word of an HVAC company representative on size suggestions. No rule states a homeowner can’t perform consumer research to determine the “right-size” unit and ask detailed questions about possible ways to optimize their HVAC use.

Waiting until the last minute to upgrade to a new HVAC system might turn out to be self-defeating, too. For one, when you must have an AC system installed because summer is arriving soon, you could reduce the time needed for the necessary research. Homeowners benefit from educating themselves about their HVAC systems. Otherwise, they leave themselves open to scams especially from dishonest HVAC companies.

Advanced knowledge helps, too. What happens when the system breaks down in the middle of a summer heatwave? Hopefully, the homeowners have an idea about what size to expect with the replacement. Find out what size units fit the size of your home. Keep the information on hand when the time comes to replace the HVAC system. Sometimes, you may find yourself replacing it sooner rather than later–perhaps due to an unexpected coolant leak. A professional can perform a heat load test to determine the proper size AC unit for your unique home.

Worries About Phantom Scams

Not every inappropriate action sets off warning bells–like when a technician identifies an unlikely refrigerant leak. When a repair professional states that a part requires replacing, most homeowners have to take the technician’s word for it. However, some contractors can perform unnecessary or uncompleted repairs that the customer might not realize until many months or even years pass.

How can a homeowner know when such things occur? Well, there might not be any perfect way to 100% figure out when “phantom” scams take place. That doesn’t mean you can’t be mindful and take action when necessary.

One way to, hopefully, avoid regrettable instances involves reading reviews and testimonials about the company. Unethical HVAC companies might have a track record for leaving unhappy and complaining customers. Thanks to online review resources, customers can present their consumer complaints. When reviewers highlight dishonesty instances, then maybe the target of their ire is a company worth avoiding.

A representative at The Cooling Company waits for your call. Request a service visit today. Besides cooling and heating service, we offer ductwork services, too. We look forward to serving your unique climate comfort needs. Be sure to ask us any questions you may have, and we’ll provide honest and detailed answers.