Air Conditioning Heating and Ventilation Services

Attention Seniors: Don’t Get Scammed Choose a Reliable HVAC Technician

Here at ACHV Services, we truly care about our Senior population.  


The large majority of us know very little about our heating and air conditioning systems. The extent of our knowledge is we know when our home starts feeling muggy or freezing, starts making strange noises, or is overtaken by leaks and water damage, it’s time to call a professional.  


When we discover a problem, we rely on what the repairman tells us needs fixing. We also trust that they will charge us a reasonable fee for their efforts and appropriate equipment. We hate that this is the case, but there are some scummy trades “professionals” who will scam naïve homeowners to make quick cash.  


Whether you are a senior, a new homeowner, or somewhere in between, our trustworthy HVAC technicians share how to avoid eight repair scams. 


senior scammed by HVAC company


Case Study of a Senior-Targeted HVAC Scam 


You probably don’t have to ask many people to find someone who has been taken advantage of by a sleazy repair company. Back in 2019 in Tampa, an 89-year-old woman was manipulated into paying $21000 over a two-to-three-year period.  


The company tried charging her $1,000 to replace a light that killed mold. After growing suspicious, she called another company that revealed to her the UV light was simply unplugged. There were plenty of similar complaints against the company, which ended in a battle between the HVAC business and Florida’s Attorney General.  


8 All-to-Common HVAC Repair Scams  


While this may be a single company, it is far from the only one taking advantage of unknowing customers. This is incredibly disheartening to our team at ACHV Services, as integrity and honor are at the heart of what we do. Let’s call the situation what it is: a scam.  


In many cases, these predatory companies will target snowbirds because they are more likely to trust whatever the technician say, and less likely to question the repair recommendations.  


Let’s explore eight common HVAC repair scams and how to recognize them.  


1. Bait and Switch 


Sketchy HVAC companies will generate business by making hard-to-beat offers. After they get in your door, they will fish to sell you on other services and mislead you on the condition of your unit to sell you more than you need. This tactic, unfortunately, got this senior Robert Nolen.  


If the quote from your HVAC contractor sounds too good to be true, don’t ignore that gut instinct. Always get a second opinion if you have any suspicion that you are getting scammed.  


2. Refrigerant Recharge and Overpayment  


If your unit is low in refrigerant, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a leak. Since refrigerant runs through a closed system, there’s no reason it should run low.  


This “recharging” scam occurs when a dishonest technician unnecessarily bills you for refrigerant you don’t need without fixing the leak. By delaying the leak repair, they will be charging you for refrigerant more than once. They’ll probably offer you several “recharges” before you catch on to the problem. 


They also might charge you for more refrigerant than you received. They should charge you by weighing the difference between the before and after. 


3. R-22 is Illegal 


An HVAC technician may tell you that R-22 is illegal and that it’s being phased out. While it’s true that it’s not legal to produce or import virgin R-22, it’s not unavailable, more expensive, or illegal. Rather, you will just have to rely on existing stocks of virgin or reclaimed refrigerant. These are both still available.  


Not all kinds of refrigerant are created equal. Newer models use R-410a refrigerant, an eco-friendlier alternative. But older models likely need R-22 refrigerant also known as freon. This can cost between $90 and $150 per pound, including the material and labor. 


4. Cracked Heat Exchanger 


At some point, furnace heat exchangers will crack if not installed or maintained correctly. However, a technician may try and scam you, telling you it’s cracked when it isn’t. If your technician tells you this, you might want to get a second opinion because it’s not a cheap fix. 


You should also ask if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, as a reliable contractor will use combustion analyzers. 


5. Replacing Unnecessary Parts 


Sometimes, a tech will tell you a part needs to be repaired when it’s perfectly fine. They might tell you it needs replacing simply because it’s old.  


A major red flag to watch for is when a technician suggests you need to change multiple parts, as one defective part typically impacts the functionality of the whole unit. Moral of the story? Get a second opinion.  


If you’re worried that you’re getting scammed by a Tampa HVAC company or simply need to make a big financial decision when it comes to your air conditioning, reach out to our team at AVHC Services! We’ll take a second look for you! 


6. Oversized Unit 


Bigger is NOT better in a lot of cases when it comes to your air conditioning unit. Some contractors will try to sell you the largest unit without calculating the size of your home or commercial space.  


Large units are more expensive and more difficult to install, so a contractor can charge you more. They also cost more to maintain in the long run. 


7. No Price Breakdown  


If your HVAC technician is trying to charge you a lot of money, they should always provide a price breakdown with explicit details of what’s wrong with the unit and what needs to be fixed. 


A reputable company will give you all of these numbers, no questions asked. 


5. Upfront Cash Payment 


An honest technician would never ask for payment before providing services. If a serviceman is requesting cash up front, they could very well be trying to take your money and run.  


Tips to Avoid HVAC Scams 


We truly detest that we have to even write this article, but unfortunately, that’s the way the world is. People will try and take advantage of you if you aren’t careful, so here are five ways to avoid getting scammed and protect your back. 


  1. Get a second opinion (call or text us anytime we’re happy to double check) 
  2. Be suspicious of “free” 
  3. Insist on a written agreement and price breakdown 
  4. Read reviews 
  5. Ask for proof of the problem  


Learn More > Possible Reasons Your HVAC is Leaking 



Helping Local Seniors Stay Scam-Free 


While seniors tend to be the ones getting scammed, which is absolutely terrible, we recognize that anyone can be prone to sneaky and seemingly trustworthy fraud. 


If you are ever concerned that you are being scammed by an HVAC technician, the most important thing to do is get a second opinion. Always trust your gut, or you may end up seriously regretting it. Our technicians at ACHV Services take pride in our ethics, and that is reflected in our reviews.  


No matter what kind of HVAC problem you’re facing, call us today, and we’ll be on it! 

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