Scammers posing as local businesses pushing for services through telemarketing has recently intensified in some areas. The goal of these salespeople is to entice homeowners to purchase expensive home heating products through routine inspections. Telemarketing calls from scammers are commonly timely and utilize scare tactics to increase the sense of urgency with the cold weather approaching. These scammers cold-call homeowners to inform them that their furnace is due for a routine inspection and cleaning. If you already have an HVAC company, they will often say they’re with the company and simply needing to schedule your routine appointment.
These callers will likely tempt you with an unbelievably low offer on furnace maintenance services for the sole purpose of getting someone into your home. The unreputable company will create problems that aren’t there, then charge you to fix them. Scams like these can cost homeowners thousands of dollars they likely don’t need to spend. Expensive parts are often recommended, and in the worst cases, a furnace can be red-tagged which means it’s unsafe for use until costly replacements are made. There are many HVAC companies around Wichita that are reputable and do the right thing, but there are also unfortunate fraudsters who take advantage. In order to avoid being scammed by an unlicensed HVAC service provider, you need to know what to watch out for when a repair technician arrives at your home.
How to Spot a Scam
• Insufficient work
• Initial "too good to be true" promotion
• No ID or name tag
• No marked vehicle
• No estimate upfront or itemized invoice
• Overly pushy salesman
• Threats of being fined by the government
What to Do If You Suspect a Scam
Hang up the phone or close the door. Homeowners can deny entry into their home if the person
If the technician is already in your home, ask exactly what’s going to be done. Ask to see everything from the filter to the inside of the furnace, the tests that are being conducted and the parts that are damaged.
It can also help to research common furnace problems. A quick search about the problem presented can often give you enough information to ask the right questions and prevent being scammed.
How to Prevent a Scam
Do research on services, get bids on projects from reputable companies and get a second opinion from a technician. If you think you’re being overcharged, or if you’re unsure your furnace parts are truly in need of replacement, a second opinion from a separate company can give you peace of mind.
Always research the company before you make an appointment. If the caller says they’re with a company you’re familiar with, call the office and double check that they’re contacting customers and setting up appointments.
Signing up for a maintenance plan on your HVAC equipment can also help. This way, you’ll know exactly who is coming to your home, when and why.