Look Out for HVAC Scams! – Part 4

Who wouldn’t like a little extra spending money? Nothing wrong with that, right? But what if you found out someone picked your pocket so they could have a little extra spending money? Now that changes things, doesn’t it? Well, being pickpocketed and being scammed are just different methods with the same result: you lose your hard-earned money. The folks here at GAMA Air don’t like scams any more than our friends and neighbors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area. By clicking on these links, you can read Part 1, or Part 2, or Part 3. Now let’s wrap up the topic with these remaining scams to look out for:

Selling you more refrigerant than you received

We talked in the last blog about charging you for refrigerant without fixing the leak that caused you to lose it in the first place. The next step an HVAC scammer could take is to bill you for the refrigerant but not put it in. They could either bill you for more than you need, or they might bill you only for what your air conditioner needs but not put it all in. In the latter case, they’ll be back out when you call to say it isn’t working right and you may get stuck with even more charges.

What can you do?

Your best bet is hiring a reputable and professional heating and air service company. But if you’ve already started and you are a little wary about what they are doing, you should pay close attention to your technician as he or she works on your unit. Refrigerant is measured and sold by weight. The container must be weighed before the technician fills your unit, and the amount is recorded. The refrigerant has to be put into your system in a very specific amount, down to the ounce so a professional heating and air technician will also be weighing the amount as it goes in. When the job is done, the final weight is subtracted from the beginning weight and that’s how much refrigerant you should pay for, and nothing more.

The classic Bait and Switch

Another way for unscrupulous HVAC companies to make an extra buck or three is by generating more business with the Bait and Switch method. The “bait” usually consists of an "offer you can’t refuse" such as discounted services or products. But once they've gotten in the door, the scam starts by switching to more expensive and supposedly necessary repairs or maybe even a complete system replacement. If the bait was an extremely lowball quote to replace your central heating and ac, then the switch might be several other charges for “unexpected” complications.

What can you do?

Be wary of the list of all the problems that were found and all the expenses that you “need” to pay to get your system running. If you feel like your system was running okay before the visit, just pay for the service that you requested and nothing more. If you called a HVAC service company because your central heating and ac was down, then that’s a different story. You have time to get more than one opinion and make a well thought out decision.

Need help right away with your home’s heating or cooling system? Call GAMA Air at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a visit at a time convenient to you for a service call. We guarantee your satisfaction 100%.

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