NCAG: As Heat Rises, be Wary of Dishonest HVAC Companies, Technicians

NCAG: As Heat Rises, be Wary of Dishonest HVAC Companies, Technicians
Image: NCCC
June 17, 2015

Extreme weather seems to bring out the worst in people. With extremely high temperatures settling over North Carolina this week, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said consumers should be on the lookout for dishonest air conditioner repair companies.

With temperatures nearing triple digits, it's important for people to stay cool and that means their air conditioners will be working overtime possibly causing some to break.

"Keep your cool if you need your air conditioner repaired in the middle of a heat wave," Cooper said in a release. "You want your AC fixed fast, but you also want it done right and at a fair price."

Each year, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office receives dozens of complaints from consumers who've had problems with air conditioning and heating repairs.

To avoid these types of problems, get recommendations from friends, neighbors and coworkers who can steer you toward a reputable company. If your contacts come up empty or you have to otherwise contact a company that you've never worked with, check its credentials with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office. To see if the repair person is properly licensed, contact the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors at (919) 875-3612.

While these resources aren't perfect, you can get a sense of a company's complaint history by checking your local Better Business Bureau's website and general reviews using websites like Angie's List, Yelp or Google reviews.

Once you find a company or technician, don't rush right into repairs without getting a written contract. Before you sign it make sure it includes all promises made orally. If you sign a home repair contract in your home, state law gives you three business days to cancel.

Avoid paying upfront and instead pay when you're satisfied with the job. When you do pay, pay by check or credit card rather than cash.

To protect yourself from higher temperatures, learn the warning signs of heat-related illness and how to contact your local Department of Social Services for help if you are without a way to cool off.