You can tell the Maryland summer is here: the temperatures have soared into 90s and the outdoors have that inescapable sauna feel. It’s that time of year again when a single day or night without a working AC can turn your comfortable life into a nightmare. If you don’t have an established relationship with a trusted Maryland HVAC company by now and you need urgent repairs or maintenance, you could become a victim of an HVAC scam. Here are a few tips to help you recognize and avoid scams no matter how sophisticated they are.
HVAC SCAMMERS MAY PRETEND TO WORK FOR KNOWN COMPANIES
One of the most popular approaches used by scam artists these days is to call homeowners and act like they represent one of the Maryland HVAC companies known and respected in the area. They would say something like “it’s time for your free inspection” or “let’s schedule seasonal maintenance.” And if you agree to a service visit, they would typically find some “problems” and suggest expensive replacements of either a part or the entire unit. If you agree, they may either take your money and disappear or pretend they replaced the part that was good to begin with.
To avoid this sort of scam, do this when you get a call from a person who claims to work for your local HVAC company:
- Check the phone number and the caller ID; make sure it’s local. Feel free to look up the phone number online and see if you can find any matches.
- Ask the caller’s name and role, then call the real company back to verify if this person works there and whether they have a record of your scheduled appointment.
- If you go through with the appointment, look for branded uniforms and vans. Most established HVAC companies understand the value of branding.
And remember, if you feel suspicious, you can always refuse the service at any moment or call a different contractor to request a second opinion.
KNOW HOW TO SPOT A SCAM
A lot of contracting scams, including HVAC, follow a similar scenario—they usually present an offer that sounds too good to be true and see who goes for it. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may be talking to a scammer:
- They call you first, drop a flyer in your mailbox or go door to door.
- They communicate everything verbally and don’t offer written estimates or contracts.
- They emphasize urgency when describing problems and press to sell.
- They usually don’t have business cards and don’t wear uniforms.
- They request money upfront.
- They have little to no presence on the web, including a website.
Remember to always check your contractor’s license before hiring them to do any work. And if you think you may be dealing with an impostor posing as another company, give that company a call to warn them. Scam artists tend to target single people 65 and older, but in theory anyone could become a victim of a scam.
If you are a regular Cool Breeze customer and you get a call or a visit from a technician that doesn’t look like he or she works for us, give us a call right away. We do our best to maintain our reputation as a trusted Eldersburg HVAC contractor and to protect our customers from impostors.