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Old 04-15-2009, 07:31 AM
28,900 posts, read 49,092,000 times
Reputation: 46320


Yesterday, I got three--count 'em--three calls from air conditioning companies offering to perform a check up on my HVAC.

Now, before you say, "Well, maintenance is always a good thing," what you really need to know that this is a huge rip-off for homeowners, a way for these companies to generate business in a short period of time. Because what these guys are doing is not adding Freon, but instead looking for ways to sell you a new unit.

Three years ago, my wife agreed to one of these maintenance visits without my knowledge. Well, they showed up, dinked around with my old air conditioning unit for an hour, and then came into my house with an alarmed expression.

Of course, my entire A/C unit needed replacing. It was And, what an amazing coincidence, they have one sitting back at the warehouse for the incredibly low price of several thousand dollars.

It was classic high-pressure sales, and I waved them off. I then called another, this time reputable, HVAC guy to come and check on my A/C. As it turns out, my unit was in fine working order, and the first crew didn't even put Freon in the thing. I asked him how much life was left in the unit, and he replied, "Well, it's getting old, but I think you can get 3-5 more years out of the thing." He also told me that this Spring Maintenance bit is the oldest scam in the business, nothing more than an excuse to churn up new high-margin business.

Well, three years later, my A/C is running fine. And when it comes time to replace my unit, which HVAC guy do you think I'm going to call?

So watch out for this rip-off. Some really shameless operators out there.
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:34 PM
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,023 posts, read 12,166,815 times
Reputation: 10960
My usual standard is to believe the advice that I seek myself as opposed to advice that is offered unsolicited.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:02 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
15,248 posts, read 48,743,447 times
Reputation: 14593
I remember having a couple of sales-geeks over to my house to try to sell me a Rainsoft water softener. I was an instructor EOOW in the (Idaho prototype) Nuclear Navy program at that time.

So, I proceeded to cross-examine them on the finer points of ion exchange.

I was *Shocked* when they finally admitted they didn't have a clue about how ion exchange resin really works, or why I doubted that a water softener that regenerated with ordinary sodium chloride could really extract large amounts of uranium from the water (and that I doubted that there was any significant uranium in Idaho Falls municipal water anyway).
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:11 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,090 posts, read 11,166,971 times
Reputation: 4118
Any time info is unsolicited they have a big interest in getting you to sign up, you might see it and you might not....but it's there.
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:09 PM
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
5,517 posts, read 9,395,200 times
Reputation: 2547
No different then any other service provider from HVAC sales to veternarians. Most are out there to sell you useless high dollar crap. If youve ever been to most car repair shops, you go in wanting an oil change, and "suddenly" you need $2000 worth of emergency "maintenance".

Best thing to do in my opinion is find a person in the field that you know, or has been working with someone you know for years, and keep with them.
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:31 PM
4,711 posts, read 11,473,803 times
Reputation: 3789
Spring/winter maintenance is good IF your HVAC guy is honest. My guy has installed and/or serviced the systems at my residence and rental houses for 25+ years.

Without a doubt, he has extended the life of my systems and major components like compressors.

But let jokers that phoned or sent a glossy flier anywhere near my HVAC stuff? NO WAY!!!

PS: OP, you're lucky they didn't sabotage your system like some car repair shysters do!
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:50 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 54,150,424 times
Reputation: 24729
Is there any wonder most Americans do not trust business in general. Business has to clean out the shysters, from high pressure HVAC repairmen to the highest levels of international finance, infecting their organizations from the bottom to the top. Most Americans are wage earners and do not understand when they are being ripped off. They just suspect it and distrust all business as a result.

BTW - Finding the good mechanic, etc. is very difficult unless you have been around a place for a while.

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