TDCI: Don't Lose your Cool with Air Conditioning Repairs

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 | 3:10pm

NASHVILLE – While most Tennesseans consider a working air-conditioning unit to be a summer survival staple, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & 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.”

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.

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Commerce & Insurance