We don’t want you to lose money to scammers this summer, and the best way to protect yourself is to know a common summer scheme involves your air conditioning unit.
“Floridians, especially our seniors, could not endure the hot Florida summer without air conditioning. So, when an HVAC unit malfunctions, they rush to have their units fixed. Bad actors may attempt to take advantage of the situation to sell unneeded repairs — or entire new systems,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.
Moody says, last September, an HVAC scheme targeting Florida residents was shut down. Ten companies allegedly operated a bait-and-switch air-conditioning scheme by luring consumers with advertisements for extremely low-cost services. Then, once in consumers’ homes, the companies are accused of refusing to provide the low-cost services — claiming that the air ducts were contaminated or contained dangerous mold without conducting proper testing. Moody secured a $490,000 judgement, so most of the money going back to victims.
To protect your family, Moody has released a resource — in English and Spanish — to help people spot and avoid A/C repair scams. The most common include:
Replacing functional parts: Claiming that HVAC parts need to be replaced when nothing is wrong — often quoting high prices for part replacements in an attempt to steer customers to purchase a new HVAC system as a better option.
Selling unnecessary amounts of refrigerant: Tricking consumers into buying more than is necessary to maintain a system, even hitting victims with this scam multiple times when the company is called to fix the next problem with the same A/C unit.
Recharge scam: Saying that a refrigerant recharge is a solution to A/C problems. This is a ploy to sell an unneeded service — know that AC does not need to be recharged.
Starting work too soon: Starting to perform work before consumers understand or have agreed to terms of a contract. Sometimes one technician will distract the consumer while another technician removes or dismantles the A/C unit.
Too-good-to-be-true prices: Offering repairs or quotes at incredibly low prices or throwing in “freebies.” Companies could be cutting corners to deliver on the too-good-to-be-true prices, creating cause for further repairs and expenses.
You can report scams to the Attorney General’s Office by:
Calling 866-9NO-SCAM (866-966-7226)
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