6 Dangerous AC Repair Scams That You Need to Avoid

The summer air is starting to heat up your home. You want to be protected and comfortable, right? Well, imagine that when you flip on your AC, the worst has happened. Your cooling system has broken down and needs repairs. It’s a situation that arises all the time, usually during a week of scorching hot days. Naturally, you would be ready to get on the internet and start searching for HVAC companies nearby. 

However, it’s not enough to simply pick the first result in your search. There are several common scams to look out for when seeking an AC repair. In this article, we’ll discuss what they are and how to spot them.

The Recharge Without Repair Scam

This is a devious but all too common tactic for dishonest businesses. Even though you’re looking for an AC repair, the scam technician might suggest that your AC simply needs its refrigerant recharged. 

While some units may need a recharge, that procedure is only required when the refrigerant leaks. Otherwise, it’s unnecessary. Refrigerant isn’t something that simply depletes over time unless an issue is causing it to drain (again, like a leak). 

The scammer hopes you don’t know that so they can recharge your unit’s refrigerant without repairing the underlying problem. That way, the scammer can keep coming back and charging you for various unnecessary “repairs” that are irrelevant to your unit’s real issue. 

To avoid this con, pay close attention to how the technician performs service on your unit. If they’re simply refilling the unit’s refrigerant and doing nothing else, you’ve likely got a scam on your hands.

The Shorted Refrigerant Scam

This is a variation on the recharge without repair scam. In this case, the scam technician expects to charge you for more refrigerant than they used to refill your unit. The best way to spot this scam is to pay attention to how they supply your unit. 

An honest technician will typically weigh the refrigerant container before recharging your unit and record the container’s weight. Afterward, they should refill your unit and weigh the container again, taking note of the difference. If your technician isn’t following this procedure, there may be something wrong. 

The Replacement Parts Scam

This scam involves a technician suggesting that specific components in your AC system need replacing when they are just fine. This one can be difficult to detect without a bit of previous experience in the HVAC field, but there are some obvious red flags. 

The biggest, brightest one to look out for is when a scam technician recommends you replace several system parts. Typically, AC repairs require a single repair to fix one point of failure. Also, if the scam technician uses these supposedly damaged components as an excuse to pitch a complete AC replacement, it might be time to hit the brakes.

The best way to avoid getting scammed in this case is to get a second opinion from another HVAC technician. It never hurts to have more than one pair of eyes when it comes to AC repair, and you can be more confident of an assessment when multiple people confirm that certain repairs are needed.

The Cash Upfront Scam

This one is straightforward. If a technician presses you to pay upfront with cash before repairing your unit, that technician is probably a scammer. The idea is simple. All these scammers want is to get your money in hand and drive away.

Don’t make it so easy. Never pay upfront with cash. Get everything in writing and make sure the technician repairs your unit before compensating them. 

The “Bigger Is Always Better” Scam

Bigger units offer more performance and higher costs. Scam technicians know this. They hope you don’t understand that a bigger unit may not be appropriate for the size of your space. They simply want you to cough up the cash under the false notion that an oversized unit will do a better job than your unit that just needs repairs.

To avoid this scam, do a little research on how many BTUs are necessary for your home. Typically, an AC needs about 20 BTUs per square foot. Every home is different and that is why we always perform a load calculation to ensure the right equipment for each home.

The Phony Professional Scam

Some scam technicians roam about posing as professionals from actual HVAC companies when they are typically unlicensed, unaffiliated, and inexperienced. These scammers usually win people over by offering steep discounts for their services. In reality, they may be faking repairs or performing substandard or even dangerous AC repairs on your unit.

To avoid scams like this, don’t trust any deals that sound too good to be true. Also, always ask for credentials, and don’t be afraid to confirm with the HVAC company that a technician is who they say they are. 

AC Repair You Can Actually Trust

If you need a good AC repair service you can trust, Air Care Heating and Cooling are the HVAC professionals you want. We service Charlotte, NC, Monroe, NC, and Indian Trail, NC, with several other locations within our service area. If we are in your neighborhood, give us a call, and take confidence in our 20+ years of industry experience.