We often get calls from people who have no idea how many pieces of equipment their system has and even less of a clue as to how it works. While this is great for AC service companies it is also a prime example of the perfect rip-off scenario.
It wasn’t that long ago that I talked with a new friend about the time he was taken advantage of by a service technician. He said that the technician was at his house for no more than 5 minutes and he had a diagnosis of the problem. A very important fuse was blown, caused by a short in the low voltage wire.
Since he did not know anything about the broken part and could not understand what the technician was talking about, he ended up paying $175 for some electrical tape, a $3 fuse and 10 minutes of on the job time. When the fuse blew again after a few days, he called the tech and was told on the phone that he should have protected the wire from the dog, and that he would have to pay again if he wanted service. The dog! What dog he thought! The tech told him that everything was written on the invoice from the previous service call. He was pretty upset and went looking for the invoice as he walked through his memory of that day.
The first time the technician was there, the tech explained some things to him but he didn’t have a clue what he was being told and found himself confused and frustrated after a few minutes of listening. He eventually told the tech to proceed and after a few more minutes the system was running again. He though something was fixed properly and was happy to move along with his day. It wasn’t until now that he read the invoice and saw the recommendations on the invoice, which he signed as an agreement to. The technician wrote, Seal-Tight conduit needs to be installed on the low voltage wiring at the outdoor unit. Cost $600
He needed air conditioning, felt like a fool and felt obligated since the tech told him that with his signature he acknowledged awareness of the situation. So he paid the scammer another $600 to complete the second repair which was now going to be $750 because the fuse was blown again. This is way too high for this scope of work. The first invoice amount of $175 would have been more reasonable for the entire job since it only requires the installation a few connectors and less than 5 foot of flexible conduit.
This is just one of many examples on how unaware customers are taken advantage of and your best defense is knowledge. Ask questions of the technician and have them show you where the part is located and what it is for. If you don’t understand the terminology they are using when telling you what needs to be done, ask them to explain it again as they show you. Don’t be afraid to go look at the system with them and ask what the various parts are for.
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