If you’ve ever been afraid of getting conned from a scam HVAC contractor, there’s good reason. Scams have spread into the industry on a large scale, and contractors have been working as hard as they can to grab your money. Since the issue is so widespread, that we’ve compiled together the top 7 scams we know of so you can keep your money from getting stolen by a fraudulent HVAC inspector.
1). The “Bad Part” Scam
Tagline: “See this piece? This is a bad piece. You’ll need to get a new one.”
Parts do tend to go bad, but the contractor should be the one to identify them. Some scam ‘technicians’ point out a part that isn’t working and discuss why the part is bad and you will desperately have to get a new part. However, sometimes the part is really defective and you’ll have to get it replaced. The trick is identifying who’s telling the truth and who’s lying.
How to tell it’s a scam: Observe your surroundings. Is your building getting proper heat or cooling? Is the HVAC making more noise than usual, or emitting a smell from the vents or units? If the answer is “no”, then it could be that nothing is wrong with your HVAC. Searching for “how to tell HVAC compressor has gone bad” will give you enough clues to diagnose the system yourself.
2). The Oversell Scam
Tagline: “You’ll need the biggest unit. The bigger and more expensive, the better.”
For the houses that don’t need it, an oversized HVAC is like an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The cost to run your swimming pool will far outweigh the benefits of having one. The same is true of any oversized AC machines – they’re more expensive to install at the outset and cost more to run. They may turn off and on suddenly, and although changing temperatures won’t be a problem, an inconsistent machine will be.
How to tell it’s a scam: Ask the HVAC technician for the formula or numbers they are using to calculate the size and load of the unit. You can find the typical weighing formula given on this site, but ask for the second opinion first. If they fumble with wording or cannot quote you the same sizes and measurements as listed, they may likely be trying to scam you.
3). The Broken Replacement Scam
Tagline: “We replaced your part – wait a few days and the problem will go away.”
If a contractor says that the part was replaced, but it will take days for the results to kick in, this is a scam. In almost every instance, replacing a part on your HVAC is an instant fix. Your unit, if frozen, may need time to thaw out, but that is the only occurrence that we know of that would need time to fix.
How to tell it’s a scam: As soon as the technician proffers, “Wait a few days and the problem will fix itself” – you know it’s usually a scam. Sadly, about the only thing you can do in these situations is to watch them leave. Once they’ve replaced the part, the “job” is officially done. One surefire way you can prevent this from happening is to avoid calling the wrong company to begin with. It’s easy to find online reviews and check to see whether the company is reputable or not. If there’s even a shred of doubt, it’s best to skip the company and move on to another one.
4). The Phishing Scam
Tagline: “Hello! I am calling for [insert company name here] to offer you a free inspection!”
These scams typically feature someone calling to come and give a free inspection, using the name of a big, reputable HVAC company to dupe a large audience of unsuspecting people.
How to tell it’s a scam: If a van or a pickup truck arrives with no company logo, it’s likely illegitimate, since almost every honest HVAC company comes in a marked vehicle. And if it’s a personal vehicle, you can almost guarantee it’s a scam.
Preventing a scam should be the first step you take when hiring an HVAC technician. The best preventative is to hire a Trusted Team to do the job for you – one with the reputation, reviews, and backing to get your HVAC up and running as quickly as possible.
HH Heating is a quality service provider with an ample reputation and a caring team of trained professionals that can repair your HVAC to perfect running condition as quickly as possible. Call HH Heating for a trusted, professional team of specialized HVAC technicians, guaranteed.