Nashville, TN – While most Tennesseans consider a working air-conditioning unit to be a summer survival staple, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) wants to make sure consumers know to be wary of scammers that profit from charging for unnecessary AC repair work.
“Staying cool is a must during the hot Tennessee summer,” said TDCI Consumer Affairs Director Cynthia Wiel.
“Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance instructions for your air conditioner can help you avoid costly after-hours emergency repair. If repairs are necessary, we encourage Tennesseans to research and find a technician or company with a solid reputation,” Wiel stated.
TDCI offers the following tips to help consumers avoid air-conditioning repair scams:
- Check your air-conditioner’s warranty, model system, and maintenance history before authorizing any repairs.
- Always ask for written estimates and statements.
- Do not accept quotes for repairs of new units over the phone without first being shown the problem by the technician.
- Beware of ads with quoted prices and offers that seem too cheap or too good to be true.
- Get multiple quotes.
- Research the company and make sure the company lists a physical address.
- Never pay upfront.
- Be wary if you’re told several components need to be replaced at once. In many cases, multiple parts aren’t functioning because only one part is broken.
- Try to avoid having work done after hours or on weekends to avoid paying for overtime.
- Beware of ads promising free cleanings or tune-ups. This can lead to recommendations for costly repairs that are not required, high pressure to replace your unit, or significant mark-ups of the price on replacement parts.
- Closely supervise the repair process to ensure your technician isn’t charging you for something they didn’t do.
- Be on guard if you are told that refrigerant should be added to the air unit every spring. This could be a scam. Any reputable contractor will detect a leak through a pressure test or dye, and will repair the leak. An air conditioning system should never leak refrigerant regularly.
If you think you’ve been treated unfairly by an air-conditioning repair technician or company, consider these complaint filing steps.
For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer