Can you trust your AC repairman? It’s a question most homeowners don’t often consider, but it’s worth a closer look, especially when you consider that there are many kinds of air conditioning scams out there. There are ways to choose a trustworthy service provider, from checking references to verifying their licenses, but not every business conducts itself ethically. Alongside diligent efforts to locate a proven team to trust, you should also educate yourself on common scams, so you know what to look for and how to avoid them. Here are seven of the scams you’re most likely to encounter.
Scam #1: Using Drama to Push High-Pressure Sales
When you have an issue with your air conditioner, and you call a service technician to your house, they should spend some time diagnosing the problem. Ideally, they will then calmly explain the issue and provide you with a few options. If your technician reappears from the air conditioning area and starts gushing about how you need to replace the unit as soon as possible because of an impending catastrophic failure, it’s more likely to be one of their air conditioning scams rather than the truth. Don’t give in to pushy tactics designed to force a decision immediately. Get a second opinion if you’re concerned.
Scam #2: Pushing the Need to “Recharge” Your Unit
Does your technician always say that your unit needs a “Freon recharge” whenever they visit? What if they tell you that they’ll need to come back periodically to recharge the unit? These are scams, plain and simple. Air conditioners are closed systems that do not lose any refrigerant unless there is a leak. If your system needs “recharging,” it also needs a leak repair. If your technician only offers the recharge, they’re trying to bilk you out of more money.
Scam #3: Offering “Used” Parts for a Quick Fix
“I might have something in the truck we can use” is an old line designed to trick homeowners into agreeing to substandard service from an AC repairman. If a part is truly broken and in need of replacement, shouldn’t you want a brand-new component rather than a used one? The money you save opting for the used part will vanish when it ultimately fails, and you require an even more expensive repair than the first time.
Scam #4: Suggesting Repairs at Arbitrary Intervals
Some components of an air conditioner will wear out over time and require replacement, but it is not a regular occurrence. If your technician always seems to find something wrong and in need of replacement when they visit to inspect your air conditioner, it’s a scam to inflate your bill. You should switch to a more reputable provider who will always explain in detail the issue rather than asking you to trust what they’ve seen.
Scam #5: Requiring Service Visits More Than Once a Year
“Seasonal” service visits are one of the biggest ongoing scams in the AC industry nationwide. The facts are simple: in just about every situation, you only need an annual service visit to keep your air conditioner in good working order, plus service calls as needed for any disruptions. There is no good reason to have your AC inspected and serviced two, three, or even four times a year.
Scam #6: Offering Unusual Discounts or Free Services
Remember what they say about things which seem too good to be true? “They probably are.” When an AC company offers free services, remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. They may try to convince you to sign an expensive long-term service contract, or they might use high-pressure tactics during a “free” service to get you to pay more.
Scam #7: Asking for Payment Before Service
This isn’t just a scam; it is a huge red flag to see from any contractor. Never pay upfront for services you haven’t yet received. Not only does it increase the risk that the contractor will simply vanish with your money, but it leaves the door open for them to charge you even more money when they “discover more issues” that cost more what you already paid. If a business insists on up-front payment, tell them “thanks, but no thanks” and find someone else.
Avoid Air Conditioning Scams With a Trustworthy AC Repair
Once you know how to spot air conditioning scams, it’s easy to shut down unscrupulous contractors. Remember never to pay upfront — and if you don’t like the way they’re providing service, ask them to leave your property. Put in the effort to find a proven local expert, though, and you won’t need to worry about scummy tactics and potential scams. Instead, you can invest in a cost-effective service that keeps your unit running well throughout the year. Don’t forget to keep these tips in mind next time your air conditioner needs professional maintenance or repair.