How Roseville Residents Can Spot Common HVAC Scams
Residents of Roseville know what a gem it is—we love the outdoor restaurants, proximity to Lake Tahoe and The Galleria. Our community is strong, which is why we’ve been surprised to see a number of scams over the last couple years, from utility bill fraud to phony warrants. HVAC scams are also common, no matter where you live, but we want to educate our clients to spot, and stop, these common scams before they make a mark on your pocketbook.
Didn’t Call For HVAC? Don’t Let Strange Contractors In
If someone shows up on your doorstep offering a “free” HVAC inspection, but you didn’t call for anyone, don’t let them in the door. This is a common tactic—one that can play out in a couple different ways.
- The person at the door may be a criminal trying to gain entrance to your house in order to scout for a future theft, or may even to “grab and run” with valuables. It is common for these thieves to be in an “official” uniform, including a badge—but do not let them in your home.
- You may also get a knock from an actual HVAC contractor who is looking to drum-up business by examining your system for free—and possibly recommending unnecessary or ill-advised repairs. However, the most reputable companies will not be found going door-to-door.
We recommend that every homeowner build a relationship with a local Roseville HVAC company and schedule them for regular maintenance. That way, when repairs are required, you’ll know you can trust their advice. And, of course, never let a stranger in your home. If a door-to-door HVAC salesman does show up, you can simply tell them you have your system inspected regularly—and politely close the door.
Not What You Were Quoted? Don’t Let The HVAC Job Cost Change
Quoting a client a price, completing the agreed upon work, and then billing the work at a higher rate is unscrupulous—and in many cases, it is against the law. Unfortunately, some homeowners, and even service companies, have come to see this practice as commonplace. People often get a bill on official company letterhead and believe they are legally obligated to pay it, even if it’s not what they agreed on before the work was started.
The best way to avoid this scam? Get hard numbers up front, in writing, and preferably signed by someone at the company who can be held accountable. We know, this sounds like a lot of work, and it shouldn’t have to be that way, but a signed document may help protect you in the event of future disputes over the work, or the billing. You can also ask your chosen HVAC company up-front if they have a policy that they only bill at the quoted price, like our No Surprise Guarantee, for example.
Have a Gut Feeling? Don’t Discount Your Instincts
Sometimes, instincts kick in. You should never be afraid to ask questions or speak up when something doesn’t feel right. If you are uncertain about any step in the maintenance or repair process, a quality serviceman will be happy to ease your fears or educate you on their work. If they are reluctant to answer your questions, this is a cause for concern. And while most homeowners can’t boast our expertise in HVAC repair, they can follow some simple rules to help ensure the professionals entering their home are above board.
- Get a referral. Go with a professional that your friends or family have used in the past, or check google reviews or Yelp to see what others have said about the company. Most cities have many options for HVAC companies. No reason to settle on the first one you see, even in an emergency.
- Ask to keep the old parts. It can be hard to spot, but service companies in many different industries have been known to charge you for replacement parts you don’t need—or for parts they never even replaced. A good rule of thumb is to always ask up-front for them to give you any old parts they replace, so you can verify they did the work.
- Don’t be afraid to report suspicious behavior. We know it can be intimidating to call for help, but if you are concerned about yourself or your property, you can call the Roseville Police Department—remember, they’re here to offer support.
Your home is your sanctuary. You should never feel obligated to let someone inside or to answer questions about your HVAC, plumbing, windows or other areas that need regular maintenance. On the flip side, remember that service companies are here to serve you—we believe in educating our clients and are never put out when they have questions, concerns or simply want to understand their HVAC system a little better.
Reach out to Bell Brothers today with your HVAC concerns. We’ll be happy to answer questions, explain our No Surprise Guarantee, or share our favorite Roseville hot spots.