Recently, there has been an explosion in growth in the HVAC industry, mainly because of innovative new products and emerging trends such as home automation and smart home solutions. With this growth has come a rise in the risk of Internet fraud, scamming, identity theft, and even credit card fraud. Below are seven unethical HVAC scams to be aware of. In addition, we give you red flags to look out for and tips to avoid getting caught up in HVAC scams. If you are searching the internet for HVAC companies near me and live in the Palo Alto area, Palo Alto Plumbing offers superior HVAC services. We have the best HVAC contractors in the business. Please view our contact information at the end of this article.
TOP 7 UNETHICAL HVAC SCAMS
- Replacing parts unnecessarily
Often a technician will tell you a part needs replacing when it only needs to be repaired. In addition, they might tell you several parts need replacing at once, but that is rarely ever the case.
- Free services or massive discounts
If a solicitor offers you free service or a massive discount, there will be a catch. They will likely steer you toward buying something you don’t need, or you will suddenly need a surprise repair. Do you remember the adage, “There is no such thing as free lunch”? It applies here, too.
- Upfront cash payments
No reputable company will ask you for a payment before even starting the service. There is no reason to have this policy unless they plan to take the money and run. In addition, if they insist on cash payment only, do not give in.
- Calling on behalf of other companies
Scamming companies might call and say they’re calling on behalf of a larger, reputable company, when in fact they aren’t affiliated at all. If they come to your house in a vehicle with a different company name, they will likely try and scam you.
- Maintenance dishonesty
This company might come to maintenance your unit during the summer and deliberately turn off your gas valve. In winter, your heat won’t turn on. They will then come out and tell you something needs replacing when it is just a simple valve switch they caused.
Shady HVAC companies count on you not knowing how much parts will cost. A simple scam is overcharging as much as they can for something simple.
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
- Are the service providers highly recommended by friends and neighbors, and are they locals? If you’ve never heard of them before, that might be a red flag.
- Do they claim to be able to reduce your HVAC bills by up to 50%? This too-good-to-be-true scam will likely fool some people, but do not fall for it.
- Do they pressure you into giving them more personal information than you usually would?
- Are they secretive about their rates? They may want you to submit a card for payment first or sign something that binds you to pay before you find out how much the HVAC equipment will cost.
- Do they have a valid state license? States have licensed and bonded HVAC repair contractors, so make sure they do!
- Does the solicitor say they work for the utility company? A utility company will not call you individually to come to service your home unless you reach out to them first.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Below are several tips to protect yourself from falling prey to HVAC scams:
- Don’t deal with door-to-door salespeople. Whether the salesperson is part of a local HVAC sales company, always check their business license.
- Always verify any sales pitch or offer before agreeing to any purchase. Research the company and the product in question and check if other people have reported getting scammed after purchasing.
- Get additional quotes. When possible, ask the salesperson for a copy of their sales sheet. In addition, you should always ask another company or two for a second opinion, especially if they say you need one or more things replaced entirely and are facing a huge bill.
- Ask questions. It might seem simple, but ask for additional clarification if things are not adding up for you. Even if the questions seem simple to you, ask them for greater peace of mind.
- Read their material. Does the company have pamphlets, price sheets, or a website? View that material and see if it is clear to you. Is a lot of information missing? Does their website look legit and professional?
- Determine if the company has any recent complaints. It’s the nature of any business to have a few complaints, but if there are dozens of them, ask them how they resolved the issue. Also, look at the Better Business Bureau website to view any complaints filed against them.
- Check the phone number and address. Often, phone numbers and addresses given by companies are for legitimate businesses. Check to make sure these are tied to a business and not an individual, and check to be sure you can trace them at all.
NEED AN HONEST HVAC PROFESSIONAL?
We hope this list of clues and tips to spot an HVAC scam has been helpful. Do you need a professional HVAC companies near me to help with your HVAC system and perform honest, routine maintenance? You can always find help by searching for “HVAC companies near me,” but know that we are right here in Palo Alto and ready to help! HVAC maintenance is essential for many reasons, and you could be breathing cleaner air, saving money, and enjoying greater peace of mind with a reputable company like Palo Alto Plumbing.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH US TODAY
If you’re from Palo Alto and other nearby areas, choose Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air for HVAC companies near me. We offer a variety of routine and essential services that include 24-hour emergency HVAC calls. For fast, reliable, and honest HVAC repair and maintenance, call us at 650-405-1460 or contact us here. We look forward to hearing from you.