HVAC scams have plagued the industry and its users for years, and unfortunately the trend only seems to be growing. Our specialists have been called to a countless number of repair jobs that are a result of shoddy or inadequate repair jobs completed by a scam artist. And while there is no fix-all for scammers, the best way to avoid yourself being scammed is to know their strategies and techniques. Here are some things scammers are known to do:
- Unsolicited calls or visits from a “professional” who claims you have an issue that needs immediate addressing. They may employ this scare tactic by insisting these repairs are vital to the safety and functionality of your home’s HVAC system. They may reference technical specs or parts that may not even exist in your particular unit but to the unsuspecting ear may sound legit. Unless you receive official notice of an issue or recall from the manufacturer, you should disregard these types of claims.
- The same callers are also known to call homeowners and state they are operating in the area and are offering “free inspections.” You can be sure that such a so-called inspection will almost certainly result in an issue that needs to be urgently addressed and can only be addressed by the inspecting individual.
- Showing excessive aggression when insisting that repairs need to be done. While this may not necessarily be as dubious as the examples mentioned above, most unqualified repairmen are in the business to make a quick buck. These individuals may insist on repairs that simply do not make sense or seem out of place. For example, does it really make sense that your 1-year old furnace already needs the blower replaced and that for some unique reason it isn’t covered by a warranty?
Now that you are aware of some of the scams employed by these individuals, here are some of the ways you can ensure you are doing your own proper due diligence.
- Research the person or company you are interested in hiring. With today’s power of the internet, a basic search into anyone’s professional reputation is no more than a keystroke away. All service-related businesses should have a strong track record of excellent service and a good grade from the Better Business Bureau. Struggling to find any history of the company or person you are considering for a repair job should be a major red flag, and unless this discrepancy is thoroughly explained, you should avoid considering such an operator.
- Understand and keep up to date with the maintenance cycles and past repair work of your system. While parts break and issues do arise, with a proper understanding of timelines and past repair work, you should be able to set your own repair expectations. For example, if you just had a particular part repaired, by an individual you trust, does it make sense that a random repairman that showed up to your door says it’s broken again? While this may be easier said than done, this requires homeowners to question things that don’t seem to make sense, and more importantly, if something doesn’t feel right, ask for a second opinion.
While scams continue to grow in their sophistication and ease, keep in mind that homeowner’s access to information is more readily available than ever before. If you feel you are potentially being targeted by a scammer, pause, pick up a computer, and do some research. Just as you are reading the article, you can find countless others out there to guide you in the right direction.