The idea that your local HVAC repair professional could scam you out of thousands of dollars is a scary thought, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. One of the local news channels found several unscrupulous furnace companies in the Denver metro area.  Here are some tips to protect yourself when you are looking for a HVAC company to repair your furnace.  First of all, you should never hire the services of a furnace repair company without performing some research. Look up the name of the company online, preferably on a site that provides consumer reviews. If they have plenty of negative reviews that suggest that they regularly scam their clients, look somewhere else. You might even want to hire a different company if you can’t find any reviews since scam artists will do everything they can to avoid leaving much of a trail. You should also try to get several quotes from different repair professionals. You’d be surprised to find out how different two repair quotes can be from each other. One might seem perfectly reasonable and only suggest a few routine repairs, while another might all but insist that you spend thousands of dollars for the safety of your home and family.

Here is another very common scam in the furnace repair industry to avoid. Many scammers will try to scare their would-be victims by saying that their furnace could become a health hazard if it isn’t repaired immediately. Situations where furnaces create genuine health hazards are relatively rare, so you will want to get a second opinion if a furnace repair professional is insisting that this is the case. If the situation really is that dire, call your local utility company. Companies such as Xcel Energy will send someone out to your home for free to fix a problem if you believe there could be a hazard such as carbon monoxide poisoning.

Finally, always ask for an itemized receipt whenever you have any kind of repair or maintenance work performed on your furnace. Even if you go through a reputable company, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you are paying for. The key to avoiding a scam is to always keep yourself informed of what is happening with your furnace. Never simply take one person at their word.

Most furnace repair and maintenance companies will do their best to keep your furnace working smoothly without charging you too much money, but there are always companies out there are less than reputable. They assume that their clients know relatively little about their own furnaces, and they use that ignorance to scam them out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They might insist that a perfectly fine furnace needs an expensive replacement part, or they might claim that a home needs a completely new furnace that they can install themselves for a hefty price. It’s unfortunate, but these kinds of scam artists do exist, and in some cases their acts of fraud have cost people their life savings.  But if you take these precautions you will be less likely to fall for a scam.

By Frank Prestwood

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