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How to Spot a Home A/C Repair Scam a Mile Away

Posted 04-23-14 in Air Conditioning

Air conditioner repair scamGeorgia’s daunting, humid summer is approaching. And that means your home’s air conditioner is going to run constantly, increasing the chances it’s going to break down.

So, let’s assume your home’s A/C breaks on the hottest day of summer.

Awesome.

Now you need to get an A/C repairman. You’re going to blindly trust that he or she isn’t going to scam you, right?

Wrong.

We’re going to teach you the signs a home air conditioner repairman is trying to scam you.

1) Asks for full payment upfront—in cash

“I’m sorry, but before i can start repairing, I need payment—preferably in cash.”

No. Just no. Ignore hustlers who push this on you. No contractor worth his salt would force you to pay upfront, especially with cash. Those that do are looking for a way to do poor work, get paid, and then become unfindable once the air conditioner breaks down again.

Look for estimates from a few contractors. And don’t pay a dime until any work has started.

2) Gives you an exact repair cost over the phone

Imagine calling a doctor and asking what medicine you need before he or she has the chance to examine you. Similarly, no contractor can give you an exact repair cost until they examine your air conditioner.

So ignore those who say otherwise.

3) Says you need more refrigerant—but doesn't mention a leak

We’ve talked about how to know if you need more refrigerant (Freon). Refrigerant isn’t like gas in a car; it’s not used up over time. Refrigerant circulates between your inside and outside central A/C units. If you’re low on refrigerant, then you most likely have a leak that needs repairing.

But a contractor that fails to mention the possibility of a leak hopes you’ll run out of refrigerant again. Then they can come back and keep charging you for more.

4) Won’t agree to a written contract

Big red flag here. The written contract’s purpose is to help you:

  • Understand what the repairman is replacing
  • How much it’s estimated to cost
  • When the repair should be done

Anyone who’s apprehensive about creating a written contract, or just wants to “shake hands” on it, is trying to scam you.

5) Isn’t a licensed Georgia contractor

The state uses professional licensing to protect you from incompetent workers and helps you report any improper work. So having a license to work on air conditioners is required by law.

Those without a license are masquerading as professionals and are up to no good.

Verify that an A/C repair technician has an up-to-date license before you hire.

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