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Avoid air conditioner repair scam artists

“Consumers should always check their unit’s warranty before making any repairs,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “It is important to be an educated consumer and to do your homework before spending any money.”

Commerce and Insurance, the state agency that houses the Consumer Affairs Division, is also home to the board for licensing contractors, which licenses professionals who work in the home heating and cooling industry.

Anyone with questions about individuals’ or companies’ license statuses should first search the TDCI license database at http://verify.tn.gov, or should call the Contractors Board staff at 800-544-7693 or email
Contractors.Home-Improvement@TN.Gov.

If a license is required for the work to be done (the board can help consumers determine that, as well), hire only licensed personnel to perform it. The board’s consumer tips can be found at www.tn.gov/regboards/contractors/consumers.shtml.
Consumer Affairs and the board for licensing contractors partner in contractor-consumer mediation through the Contractor/Homeowner Accountability and Mediation Program. Read about it at www.tn.gov/consumer/champ.shtml.

How to Avoid Scams
•     Always research the company/contractor before agreeing to have work performed. 
•     Make sure that the company or contractor lists a physical address.
•     Be wary of advertisements whose quoted prices seem too good to be true.
•     Get multiple quotes for repairs.
•     Be wary if told that the air conditioning unit needs multiple parts replaced.
•     Do not accept quotes for repairs over the phone. It is impossible to know how much a new unit or repair will cost without  
      first seeing the problem in person.
•     Be wary of advertisements offering free cleanings or tune-ups.
      These offers may lead to recommendations for costly repairs that are not necessary or for worse: customers being  
      pressured to replace units or pay for overpriced replacement parts.
•     Never pay money upfront.
•     Ask for written statements.
•     Avoid having to pay overtime fees for work done after hours or on weekends.
•     Be wary of contractors who suggest adding refrigerant to air conditioning units annually. A reputable contractor will detect
      a leak through a pressure test or by using dye, and will repair the leak. An air conditioning unit should not leak refrigerant
      regularly.
•     Always check the “Buyer Beware List” at www.tn.gov/consumer/buyerbeware.shtml to see if the company being
      considered has had known problems in the past. Companies are typically placed on the list for being unresponsive to
      complaints filed with the state.
•     Read the fine print of any contract or estimate.


Posted on: 8/7/2013

 
 

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