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Top Air Conditioner Service Scams to Watch Out For. As a leading provider of air conditioner services in St. Louis, we understand how important it is to maintain the quality and efficiency of your cooling system. However, there are some unscrupulous service providers out there who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. In this blog, we’ll highlight the top air conditioner service scams that you should be aware of and how to avoid falling victim to them. At SmartHouse, our goal is to offer honest and ethical service that matches our St. Louis customers’ ideal comfort with their budget needs. Read on to see which AC scams you need to be wary of, or call us today at 314-648-3162 for any or all of your heating and cooling needs.
This is a common scam where a service provider will advertise a low price for air conditioner service, but when they arrive at your home, they will tell you that you need additional services which are not included in the initial quote. For instance, they may advertise air conditioner maintenance for a low price, but once they arrive at your home, they will claim that you need additional services that cost much more. This can end up costing you significantly more than you expected.
How to avoid it: Make sure that you get a written quote from the service provider that outlines all the services that they will provide and the cost for each service. If they try to add additional services later, refer them back to the written quote and ask for an explanation.
This scam can be part of the bait-and-switch scam. It involves a service provider claiming that your air conditioner needs repairs that are not actually necessary. They may exaggerate the severity of the problem or even create a fake problem altogether.
How to avoid it: If you suspect the repairs are unnecessary, get a second opinion from another service provider before agreeing to any significant repairs. You can also ask the service provider to explain in detail what the problem is and why the repairs are necessary.
In a similar vein, some HVAC contractors may tell you that you need to replace your entire AC system when a new installation isn’t really worth it or necessary. For example, R22 refrigerant has been phased out of use in AC systems, but some older systems still use it. Some companies say that an AC with R22 refrigerant can’t be worked on, but that’s simply not true. Often there may be some benefit to replacing your current system, but you don’t necessarily have to do it in order to be comfortable.
How to avoid it: Ask detailed questions about why the replacement is needed, and what exactly could happen if you don’t replace. Ask for a second opinion. As a homeowner, you understand your home comfort and budget needs. Be wary of anyone who is trying to take those decisions out of your hands.
Some HVAC companies primarily pay their technicians through sales commissions, meaning the technician has a high incentive to close a deal at each home they work on. Some may mention “Special Offers” that “won’t last long,” and encourage you to agree to a purchase in the moment so you don’t miss out.
How to avoid it: Improving your home should not be a high pressure situation. Don’t pay for any “deals” that have an expiration date approaching. Look for a company that takes the time to explain your options and their recommendations in a straightforward manner.
Deposits are common with contractors, but only to an extent. This is a scam where a service provider asks for upfront payment before starting the job. Once they receive the payment, they may either not show up or do a shoddy job.
How to avoid it: Always make sure that you have a written contract with the service provider that outlines the scope of work, the timeline, and the payment schedule. If the contractor does require a deposit, be wary of anything over 10% of the total project cost.
This scam involves a service provider claiming to have credentials or certifications that they do not actually possess. They may use these fake credentials to charge higher prices or to gain the trust of unsuspecting customers.
How to avoid it: Always ask the service provider to show you their credentials and certifications before hiring them. You can also verify the authenticity of their credentials by checking with the relevant certification body.
This scam involves a service provider offering a referral fee to customers who refer them to their friends and family. However, the service provider may charge significantly higher prices to the referred customers to make up for the referral fee.
How to avoid it: Always ask for a written quote from the service provider before hiring them. If the prices seem too high, you can always shop around for other service providers.
The best way to avoid an AC service scam is to trust in an ethical St. Louis HVAC company for all of your heating and cooling needs. At SmartHouse, we value your comfort and trust. The advice our technicians give will never be based on a commission, and they’ll never resort to questionable sales tactics to close a deal. When we recommend improvements or repairs to your AC system and home, we do so after using our expertise to accurately determine how your home’s energy performance could improve. We’ll always go over all of your options, in detail, so you know exactly what you’re paying for and what you can expect. Call SmartHouse today at 314-648-3162, text us at 314-310-2242, or contact us online to learn more about how we can improve your home comfort.