How to Identify and Avoid AC Repair Scams
An air conditioner is essential between April and August in Maryland. It keeps the indoors of our homes and businesses cool during the searing heat of summertime. However, an AC that stops working can be devastating. When faced with a non-working air conditioner, you will immediately delve into a desperate search for someone to fix the problem. There are plenty of genuine AC maintenance and repair services in Maryland, but these businesses may not be able to immediately come out and solve your problem. If the luxury of time is unavailable at such a moment, you are more likely to make rushed and unwise decisions.
Like in any other trade, deceitful technicians do exist in the industry. It is advisable to be watchful about them. You do not want your AC handled by someone who could cause more havoc instead of improving the situation. However, it is not an easy task to find out who’s genuine and who’s not. This article will help you recognize some ways to identify and avoid AC repair scams.
1. Shallow Company Details
A bad AC contractor will provide very little or no information about their company. For instance, they might have a one-page website that doesn’t give sufficient details on what the company offers. Some will lack a website all together since they are not versed with vital information to display on the site. Besides that, they do not have registration and certification documents to prove their legitimacy. Unlike legitimate service providers, false contractors will not have a license to show you. You should quickly sense a scam if an AC repair technician cannot produce a permit upon your request. Keep in mind that a license is proof that the technician has the necessary qualifications for the job. It also shows they are complying with the set-out rules and regulations in conducting business.
Ask a few questions before signing a contract, and request that your AC service provider show you their license. You also want to check their certification to know their areas of expertise. You should avoid service providers who won’t issue these documents right away.
2. Asking for Upfront Payments
Be suspicious of anyone who asks for full payment before the service is completed. Unscrupulous AC repair service companies will ask for full payment and will not accept a down payment. Genuine companies will ask you for a small amount of money at the start of the project, while the rest of the payment is made upon its completion. Others will have an after-the-service payment policy where you settle the whole amount when the work is finished. This is never the case with shady contractors. They will demand full payments before they start the project. Their mission is usually to pocket the money and vanish into thin air.
Avoid being ripped-off by checking the payment policy of your prospective AC repair company. Make sure that the company doesn’t include hidden charges or demand upfront payment.
3. Unrealistic Estimates
While low prices can be rather enticing, they could be another scam. An illegitimate company is likely to cut corners by providing low-priced services while compromising on quality. Why would a company that’s in business to make money offer huge discounts or free services? Simply, it is because they have under-qualified technicians who perform sub-standard work. Similarly, outrageously high prices are a red flag to watch out for. These prices are inclusive of hidden charges, which allow the company to make big profits at your expense.
To avoid this scam, ask for estimates from several AC repair companies. With a list of quotes, you will have an idea of the price to expect when you hire an AC technician. Essentially, the prices of different professional AC repair services will not differ much. Choose the company whose price is not only within your budget, but also looks realistically true. Also, make sure the estimate is done in writing to avoid surprises in the future if additional expenses begin to pop up.
4. High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Scammers will do whatever it takes to sell their services. They will persuade their customers to make unwise decisions using their high-pressure sales tactics. For instance, they will get you to believe that your AC will break down completely if you fail to have it repaired now. Of course, this is to scare you and get you to hire them immediately. You also need to be wary of companies that always have limited time offers such as huge discounts and free services. It is often a tactic used by false AC repair companies to lure unsuspecting customers.
Avoid these scammers by simply following your instincts. A broken AC isn’t a matter of life and death. You should take your time to find reliable and professional services if you want quality in return. Remember, when the deal is too sweet, you need to think twice.
5. No Reviews, No References
An obvious clue you are dealing with a scammer is when you fail to locate even a single review about the air conditioning company. Worse yet, is when they become reluctant to provide you with a list of references whom you can contact before bringing the contractor on board. Essentially, a professional AC repair company will pride itself on having as many online reviews as possible. This is meant to give you a chance to ascertain the quality of their work by reading past clients’ experiences.
To make sure an AC repair company can make good on its claims, check out their online reviews. These could be on their social media platforms such as Facebook or on the Better Business Bureau website. Ask for a list of genuine references as well. Make sure you call them and verify everything you want to know about the AC repair company you plan to hire.
6. A Long List of Unnecessary Parts
Replacing one or two parts in the AC is common. However, replacing almost all the parts, all at once, is uncommon. If your AC repair technician does such a thing, you may be dealing with a fraudster. This stunt is intended to spiral up your repair costs as the technician benefits from added profits. They could also be attempting to convince you to replace your entire AC unit, which implies increased service charges. Another red flag to watch out for is when the technician keeps insisting on recharging the refrigerant. They use this trick to keep coming back for recharging services instead of repairing the leak in the refrigerant.
You can avoid being the victim of a scam by contacting Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating in Hanover. We have qualified technicians who can correctly diagnose and provide permanent solutions. Furthermore, our crew can provide same-day services in many instances. We offer fair prices with no hidden charges, and we encourage you to visit our website to learn about the products we offer from Lennox, Trane, and more. In addition to air conditioners, we work with heat pumps, furnaces, and boilers. Please contact Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating for more information.