When your air conditioning breaks down or is not functioning as it should, you need to have access to professional HVAC service that can get the job done right. Since we’re all on a budget, it isn’t unusual for people to shop around a bit to get a better deal.
However, there are some caveats that go along with this practice. Cheaper isn’t always better where HVAC is concerned and as a matter of fact, choosing an air conditioning repair company just because it’s cheap might just cost you more in the long run.
Common fraudulent practices in HVAC
Much like car repair, some unscrupulous companies will go out of their way to “repair” issues that don’t exist, sell you parts you don’t need, or avoid doing the work altogether while charging you a premium.
Knowing what to look out for is important, but ultimately, choosing a reputable company that has already gained its customers’ trust should be number one. After all, it is your comfort we’re talking about!
Here are some common red flags to look out for so that you don’t find yourself worse off than you started:
Super-discounted low-ball pricing
The old adage that says “if it sounds too good to be true …” is very accurate when it comes to air conditioning repairs. You simply can’t provide a high level of service without charging for it – and that’s just simple math. Think about it: the technician makes a minimum of $18 – $20 per hour. They probably use a company vehicle. There are expenses involved in maintaining an office, staff, and so on. Knowing all this, do you still think it’s feasible, reasonable or even believable to get a service call for $29?
And how about that “cheap” all-in price for equipment and installation? Some of these companies advertise prices that are far below what the equipment costs, so how could this be possible? If you find pricing that is well below the average of what you see in the industry, chances are it’s a scam – or at the very least, a company that doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Companies that quote your repairs over the phone
This is another way to tell you’re not dealing with a full HVAC deck. It’s impossible to accurately quote an air conditioning repair job over the phone. Any HVAC technician that is worth their muster needs to see the unit and the space it’s in to be able to evaluate repair needs properly.
Now that you know what to beware of, here are a few things you should be looking for when choosing an air conditioning repair service:
Professional website and listings
A reputable HVAC company will have a comprehensive website that lists their services as well as their qualifications, trust seals, and capabilities. True, some small companies are limited in their resources, but a reputable company will always put their best foot forward.
Industry recognized qualifications
An HVAC company should be licensed, insured, and bonded. If they have no way to prove any of these things, this is a major red flag.
Ultimately, it’s your comfort and your money we’re talking about here. To make sure you are getting exactly what you paid for, be sure you partner with an established HVAC company whose reputation you can verify. A little due diligence will go a long way to helping you avoid the hidden costs of cheap air conditioning repair.