Avoiding AC Repair Scams

Most families depend on their air conditioners to keep them cool through the spring and summer months. And when there is a problem with an HVAC system, you will more than likely turn to an AC service technician to repair it.

The unfortunate truth is that not all AC repair companies operate with the level of ethics needed by their customers. This fact is bad news for a family who needs the problem with their air conditioning system addressed in a hurry.

It may help a bit to familiarize yourself with common AC repair scams. The following covers some tips about how to avoid these scams before seeking to have your system serviced.

1. Replacing Parts That Still Work

A shady repair technician may tell you that parts contained within your air conditioning system need to be repaired or replaced when there is nothing wrong with the AC part identified as the problem. Often this scam includes a quoted price for the new AC part that is so high it causes the customer to conclude a new HVAC system is a better option.

One evidence of this scam is the claim by a technician that multiple parts are not working within the system. One defective part is necessary to cause the majority of AC failures. Even when more than one AC part malfunctions, the source of the problem is likely a single defective part.

It is not realistic to expect the average homeowner to identify the parts within an AC system that are not working. But multiple opinions from expert technicians should be enough to keep these types of scams at bay.

2. Buying More Refrigerant Than Is Needed

Some unscrupulous AC repair companies will have you purchase a quantity of refrigerant that is more than they use to maintain your system. Often homeowners who are victims of this scam get struck again when they call the company to fix the “next” problem with their air conditioning unit.

Refrigerant is sold by weight, so you should watch closely as the technician fills the unit. Ask the AC repairman to weigh the jug holding the refrigerant both before and after pouring. The difference in the weights represents the amount of refrigerant poured into the system.

3. Oversized Units

Repair service technicians also enjoy a better profit margin when customers purchase larger units. The problem for homeowners is that many times, the larger unit is not needed and only results in more money out of pocket.

You should identify it as a red flag if your technician seems a bit anxious to have you purchase the largest unit available. You can avoid susceptibility to this scam by performing your own due diligence regarding load requirements and unit size prior to a conversation with the technician.

4. Recharge Scam

You may not know that an air conditioner does not need to have the refrigerant recharged to ensure proper operation. When a technician tells you that a refrigerant recharge is the solution to your AC problems, it is likely a ploy to sell an unneeded product while avoiding the work involved with fixing the leak that is the real problem with your air conditioning system. The scam also sets the stage for you to call for another recharge at a later date.

5. Too Good to Be True

No one should have a problem with the fact that AC repair service companies are in business to make money. But while some companies are committed to offering the best service possible for the money they charge, there are also AC repair companies that will cut corners on a job as an easy way to increase the profits they receive. Avoid any scam that uses this strategy, and remain vigilant against anything billed as “free.” In addition, be skeptical of all deals that are too good to be true.

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