‘Tis the season for triple digit temperatures and running your air conditioner all day and night. But as every Phoenix resident and anyone with an air conditioner unit knows, it needs to be maintained and on occasion repaired. If you’re one of the unlucky few who needs to have their air conditioner repaired, here are some tips you can use to avoid being scammed.
11 Ways to Avoid Air Conditioning Scams
If you need to call in an air conditioning repair company, here’s what to look for and avoid.
- Troubleshoot On Your Own
We know you’re not an air conditioning technician, but that doesn’t mean you can’t identify something that looks out of place. If a wire is disconnected and all you have to do is simply plug it back in, you just saved money. If you didn’t take the time to look for obvious issues, a dishonest repairman might overcharge for this easy fix.
Things to look for:
- Has the breaker tripped?
- Does your thermostat have power and is it operating as expected?
- Has your air filter been changed recently?
- Is debris piling up and around your outside unit?
- Check Your Air Conditioner’s Warranty
If your air conditioner is still under warranty, you can avoid paying for repairs out of pocket. Don’t take your repairman’s word for it. Check your owner’s manual to see if your HVAC warranty is still good.
- Do Thorough Research
There are a ton of online resources that can help you to find a reputable air conditioning repair company, such as the Better Business Bureau. Some home improvement service websites, including Amazon Seller Central, require background checks on anyone they send to your home. Other home service websites, such as Thumbtack, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor, have background checks; however, they are not mandatory. On these sites, look for a badge that verifies a background check has been conducted.
- Ensure Your Choice is Licensed & Insured
All HVAC companies must be licensed and insured. To verify the company you’re thinking about hiring is licensed, simply head over to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to look it up for yourself. You can also use this site to see a history of complaints, if any exist.
- Read Reviews
Reading reviews is something you should always do before making a large purchasing decision and doing so when hiring an air conditioning company is no different. To make sure your chosen company does what it says it will, check out their Facebook, BBB, and other online reviews.
- Get at Least Three Bids
To make sure you’re actually getting a fair price, have at least three reputable companies provide repair quotes. If one seems outrageously high, or low for that matter, this should be a red flag. If they all come back relatively similar, revert back to the research you’ve already performed to narrow down your decision.
- Ask for References
An air conditioning company that is trustworthy will have no problem providing potential customers with a long list of references. Be sure to call and check up on the company you plan on hiring. This simple step can save a major headache down the road.
- Get Repair / Service Quote in Writing
After you’ve decided on the A/C repair company you’re going to hire, ask the technician to provide you with a formal statement of work. This document will clearly define, for both parties, what needs to be done and how much it will cost. Doing this avoids surprise expenses to be added on at the end.
- Make a Downpayment & Pay the Rest Upon Completion
Never pay for your air conditioning repair work in full. Not only will this prevent a shady contractor from running off with your money, it will also protect you should something happen to the A/C company or its stakeholders that might prevent your job from being completed.
Fun fact: Under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, for a contract of more than $5,000, the contractor legally cannot accept a deposit in excess of one-third of the contract price, or one-third of the contract price plus the cost of special order materials.
- Completely Test System Before Tech Leaves
Before you hand your air conditioning technician the final check, thoroughly go over each of the repairs made and visually inspect them. Also make sure your air conditioner works properly before making your final payment. Obviously, if something isn’t right, you can hold your repairman to making it right.
- Final Tip
Unscrupulous air conditioning repair companies popup during summers in Phoenix each and every year. Keep an eye out for warning signs, such as no online reviews, no website, no references. Finally, don’t work with any company that uses high-pressure, sense of urgency sales tactics. This is a major red flag.
Call the Air Conditioning Experts You Can Trust
If you need an air conditioning repair company that you can trust, turn to ACE Home Services. We have excellent customer reviews (check out our Facebook page) and have been serving Phoenix residents for more than 20 years. To schedule HVAC repair, please call (602) 483-6295 to schedule a service call today.