One of the most expensive mistakes you can make is assuming that any air conditioning service will work for your home because not every service is the same. In fact, some services and HVAC companies are downright untrustworthy. It is extremely important that you choose an air conditioning service carefully to ensure that your AC unit is adequately protected and maintained. Your AC system is one of the most expensive appliances in your home, and if you live in Texas it is a necessity, not an extra.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson that some people learn too late. Failing to do your due diligence when hiring an AC company can mean spending a lot more on repairs or even replacing your unit prematurely. From installation to repair to replacement, the lifespan of your unit hinges heavily on the air conditioning service you hire to handle your repairs. Make the wrong call, and you could end up paying for it for years.
The following are a few tales of people who hired the wrong people for air conditioning service, and they are still paying for their bad choices. In fact, their stories are almost unbelievable, but the scary part is that they are true. Protect yourself and make sure that you don’t end up in their spot by screening any HVAC company that you are considering for your home.
A Little Bit of Nothing
Shawn called a local air conditioning service when his AC stopped working correctly. The unit clearly had some type of issue with the refrigerant because the unit froze over, but what happened next was wild. Shawn assumed that the leak would be fixed and he would go back to enjoying cold air, but the journey back to a working AC unit took much longer than Shawn thought it would and left him with a very foul taste in his mouth.
He learned the hard way what happened when you didn’t do your research, but hindsight did nothing to help through navigating the following mess. Even working with a locally owned company didn’t help, as he learned that the owner was a very inconsiderate technician who was focused on doing as little work as possible instead of actually fixing the problem. It seemed that he liked to rack up service fees more than he liked to actually repair AC systems. These are all things that Shawn learned along the way.
The AC froze over while Shawn and his family were sleeping. They went to bed, and things seemed fine, but the following day the house was hot, and when he saw ice on his AC unit he knew something was wrong. He immediately turned off his AC and called a local AC company. Shawn didn’t spend much time looking around; he just found a guy that said he could make it out the same day, and that is where the trouble began. The quick availability may have been the first sign that this company wasn’t worth his time, but all Shawn felt was relief that he could get this taken care of quickly.
However, good luck stopped there. Shawn took the day off since the guy said he could be there within a few hours and waited patiently in the house for him to show up. It was unpleasant, but Shawn was pretty sure the problem was going to be fixed in the afternoon so he was able to rough it out. Unfortunately, it was almost 6 pm when the guy finally showed up. His kids and wife were home, and now everyone was uncomfortable and wondering when this was going to actually get fixed. His kids had added their own snotty comments, and Shawn was impatiently waiting for the technician to actually show up at this point.
The technician, who turned out to be the owner, didn’t say much when he got there and just stood and seemed to stare at the unit for a few minutes before turning around and telling Shawn he would have to return. This caught Shawn off-guard; he thought that he would at least look at the unit or work on it, not just casually inspect it with his eyes and make a decision. Then the technician told him that there was nothing he could do today because the unit would have to defrost first.
While Shawn could understand that the technician was not going to wait all day for the unit to defrost, he was still caught off-guard because he told the air conditioning service on the phone that the unit was frozen. Therefore, he was unsure why the technician had to come out and charge a service fee just to see the same thing for himself. If he wasn’t willing to wait all day for it to unfreeze, he should have just made the appointment for the next day. After all, that should be something that is relatively predictable.
However, since Shawn could clearly that the unit was frozen he didn’t feel like he had a lot of room to argue and he let it go. Perhaps the receptionist had not spoken to the technician and let him know the exact condition of the unit. He just wanted it fixed but didn’t want to be unreasonable about it.
The owner/technician told Shawn that he would have to come out the next day to do it. However, Shawn had to travel out of town the next day for a business conference, so he told him that he could not be home for the repair. However, since the unit was located outdoors, Shawn told the technician that he could come to do the repairs anyhow and just call him to tell him what needed to be done. Once they squared that away the owner left.
The next day came and went without Shawn hearing from the AC technician. He wasn’t sure what happened, so at the end of the day, he called the air conditioning service to ask why no one had been out to his home for the repair. The receptionist told him the technician had come to the house but didn’t fix anything because no one was home. He hadn’t called him or let him know that he was there, he simply left, according to the receptionist. Shawn wasn’t even sure this happened since he didn’t see anyone approach the door on his door camera, but he knew that sometimes it missed things, so he let it go.
The receptionist said he would have to speak to the owner before she could schedule an appointment since the second day was considered a no-show. According to the technician, this would be his third trip out to the home, so now Shawn had to pay him a trade fee to ensure his time would be compensated. Shawn was frustrated now because he told the man that he would not be home, and he acted like it was a surprise to him when he wasn’t.
Shawn was even angrier that the AC was still not working because while he was out of time, his family wasn’t, so everyone was sleeping in the thick heat of the Texas summer. He thought about asking his wife to be there, but he knew that she was busy and overwhelmed at work, and there was no reason why she should have to be home. This technician should be able to handle the work on his own.
Finally, Shawn agreed to pay for the trade unit because he needed the unit fixed, but he reiterated that he was not in town, so the technician had to be okay with working on the house while he was not home. He offered to send an email or sign a contract offering permission for the repairs to be made while he was not home, but the owner said that wasn’t necessary. He just needed his upfront trade fee to ensure his work would be paid on the 3rd visit. Reluctantly Shawn agreed because his family needed to get the AC working before it warmed up anymore, and they found themselves in a hotel.
The technician showed up and called Shawn to tell him that the unit needed freon to get back into working function. This seemed odd to Shawn as that only explains why it froze in the first place because the refrigerant was leaking. So while it would need more, he didn’t understand how adding more would solve all the problems. The technician was vehement, however, that sometimes the freon can evaporate and it just needs to be recharged. He said that there was no reason to believe that there were any leaks.
While this sounded suspicious to Shawn, he ultimately thought the guy must know what he was doing since he owned the air conditioning service and the unit was working again. Shawn paid $275 for the freon, and the unit started working right away. Shawn’s wife called him later to say that the AC was working and everyone was happy, so he let go of his nagging thoughts and figured the case was closed. Altogether with the trade fee, Shawn had spent about $500 on the repair and three days of nonsense stress, but if the AC was running then he was happy enough.
However, four weeks later, he woke up to discover that his unit had frozen again, and now he was extremely unhappy. Instantly he knew that he should have trusted his instincts because now he was right back in the same place. The one thing he knew he was going to do differently this time was he was going to call a new HVAC service. There was no way that he was even going to talk to the first guy again because, clearly, he had done nothing right from the very beginning.
This time around the technician was able to inspect the unit right away, and he did more than just look at the frozen unit and claim that they needed to wait until it was defrosted. The technician spent quite some time looking at the unit from underneath the cage and then told Shawn that he had severe leaks in the evac coil and the service valve. In addition to fixing these components, the unit would need another 5 lbs of Freon because everything he had bought just a month ago had already leaked out and was gone.
The first company he called had been able to come out to his home quickly but turned out to be primarily a fraud. They never took the time to actually investigate the unit and took advantage of the fact that they knew the owner was traveling to create an opportunity for a no-show that opened the door to charge an extra trade fee. Even worse, once they finally arrived for the inspection, they just applied a band-aid by filling up the AC unit with more Freon.
This may have temporarily gotten the AC to work again, but because they did not address the area of the actual leak, it only bid some time so that the AC technician could get his check and disappear. After the repair was complete Shawn attempted to call the first company to complain and let them know that he was unsatisfied because they had botched the repair job, but no one at the company would return his call. Suddenly, no customer service and no one was rushing to answer his queries.
It crossed his mind more than once that the first technician may have actually purposefully damaged his unit or at least ignored the actual issues because he knew then he could potentially get called out to the home a second time. Shawn had no way of knowing if the first company was just ignorant or dishonest, but either way, he knew that he would never call them again.
After reading a few reviews, he saw that this company had many bad reviews from people who stated the technician never inspected their units during air conditioning service or failed to listen to what they said. Many people also said they ghosted them after their bad repairs, which is something that Shawn could relate to a lot. His biggest regret is that he hadn’t just read the reviews before he wasted so much money on them to fix something that didn’t hold at all.
He learned a valuable lesson- that it is better to read the reviews before you hire someone instead of reading them afterward to feel better about what happened. While it was nice to know that his experience wasn’t uncommon, he would have felt much better if he could have avoided it altogether. Shawn would never call that company again, and he decided to complain to the BBB. He would use the second company from now on out if he had any other air conditioning service needs.
Shawn had honestly never thought that fixing his AC system could be this much of a headache, but now that he knew how much work it was, he would never just blindly call someone again. Fifteen minutes to read reviews would have spared him so much hassle and made his family a lot happier with him than they were as it stood. From his moody teens to his stressed wife, nothing about this situation had been enjoyable.
It’s Not Frozen – It’s Dirty
Mary and Thomas also had to deal with a frozen AC system. Still, her experience was completely different than Shawn’s since it seemed that the air conditioning service her warranty company sent out was only focused on fraud. The company did as little as possible to make sure they could quickly collect service fees without actually doing any work. In the process, they made the situation even worse for the couple and refused to fix any of their mistakes.
Mary and Thomas noticed that their AC system froze one day but then started working again after it unfroze. Given they live in Texas, this was a very odd occurrence, but they ignored it the first time it happened. However, after this happened a second time, they knew something was up, so they called their warranty company, which sent out an air conditioner service. Mary wanted to do some research on the company, but Thomas told her not to worry about it and just use whoever the warranty company wanted. Mary would bring this up many more times in the future as the ultimate “I told you so,” but she didn’t enjoy being right. The cost of this particular win was extremely high.
The technician that came out to their home kept insisting that nothing was wrong with the AC. According to him, there was just debris and grease around the unit, but even that shouldn’t cause it to freeze. Mary noted that he never actually touched the unit or inspected it with just one tool. He just stood by the outdoor unit and talked to them. She mentioned that he didn’t seem to inspect it, but the technician quickly dismissed her. It was clear that he was focusing on talking to Thomas instead of her.
Mary did not appreciate this approach at all. She had questions and concerns, and the technician dismissed her in favor of talking to Thomas. However, Thomas quickly noticed and started to repeat Mary’s questions to the tech because they were valid concerns. The tech still dismissed them quickly stating that a quick cleaning would do the trick and the unit was just freezing up because they were running it too much and it was Texas after all. This made no sense to Mary because if that was the case, then everyone should have units that were freezing up, and out of everyone she knew, no one had experienced this issue.
Mary just had a newborn and spent almost every day at home in the house, and she hadn’t seen anyone in their new neighborhood need HVAC repair yet. While she wasn’t a trained professional, when she looked at her neighbors’ outdoor units, none of them looked any cleaner than her unit either. Despite that fact, the technician continued to argue that they just needed a cleaning and not a full air conditioning service. Mary went inside with the baby, and within ten minutes, the HVAC tech was cleaning up and getting ready to go.
However, things seemed to get worse once the technician left. First, they noticed warm air coming out of their vents instead of cool air. Thomas checked the thermostat, but it was set correctly. Then he went outside and noticed screws all over the ground outside of the unit. He wasn’t sure what the technician had done while he was at his house, but he knew that these screws likely should be installed somewhere in the unit instead of all over the ground.
Soon enough, the AC unit wasn’t even blowing warm air. It quit working altogether, and Mary quickly called the air conditioner service company back to tell them that they needed immediate help. They had a newborn in the house and couldn’t deal with these hot temperatures, and the repairman had just left. The company assured them that the tech would turn around and be back at their home shortly. This relieved them slightly, but Mary was still aggravated that this had happened. She had known that cleaning would not be enough and wished that she had pushed harder at the time.
Two hours passed slowly while the couple waited for the technician to return, and they started to get concerned. They had called twice, but both calls went straight to email. Finally, someone answered and said that the technician had to check one thing and would call them back in a second. Then they started getting sent to voicemail again. Mary was getting desperate. It was warming up, and the forecast for the rest of the week looked even hotter. There was no way that she could stay in the house with their newborn without any AC.
Finally, her husband attempted to call the air conditioning service from a different number, and someone answered immediately. However, as soon as her husband told him who he was they hung up on them. Now the couple was completely frustrated. It was obvious at this point that they were being avoided due to their error, so they called the warranty company back, but at this point, on the business day, the customer service line was closed.
Mary and Thomas had no choice but to tough out the night with their newborn in the heat and called the warranty company first thing in the morning. They reported what happened and explained they had no AC and a newborn and needed something done. However, the warranty company told them that the ticket was closed because the HVAC technician had called them and told them that any issues with the AC were likely maintenance issues.
Mary was instantly incensed. Their AC was worse now than before the technician had come. While it occasionally froze up, at least it was running. After whatever this fraudulent air conditioning service had done, it wasn’t even turning on. The warranty company stated they could get a second opinion at their own expense and then file an appeal, but they had no reason not to trust the AC company. Mary told them she had quite a few reasons but hung up in frustration.
It was now the weekend, and they had a terrible time finding an available HVAC company. Texas has brutal summers, and July was the worst time of year to look for a repair. It was one very long weekend that resulted in the couple deciding to get a hotel for two days because they were afraid the heat would be too much for the infant. The situation was already bad enough without constant harm that their child was overheating.
Mary did some research over the weekend looking for an air conditioning service with great reviews and good customer feedback. While searching, she also glanced at what people had written about the company they had used and was not surprised to learn that most people rated them one-star. She certainly didn’t think they deserved any stars after how she was treated.
The second air conditioner service came out the following Monday and stated that there was a broken component which was likely from wear and tear that was unavoidable. The unit was five years old and constantly ran because of the hot weather, so it had nothing to do with maintenance and more with the fact that they lived in Texas. The new AC company replaced the part and put more Freon on the unit because it was almost empty. This was extremely odd because there wasn’t a leak in the system, something the new air conditioning service heavily examined due to the low amount of Freon.
The second technician mentioned to Mary that it was possible that the first company purposefully drained it to create a problem. Sometimes they said this happened to make sure that you had to call them a second time. This would increase service fees, and since Freon is expensive is a great way to make a quick buck. However, he may have thought that Mary and Thomas caught onto him, which is why he was quick to ghost them.
There was no way for Mary and Thomas to know what happened, but given the behavior of the first company, it seemed perfectly reasonable to believe that this theory could be true. After all, their system worked much worse after the original technician came than it ever had before. He didn’t repair a thing; all he did was break it down even more.
Funnily enough, after the second HVAC technician they called left the house, no broken screws were lying everywhere on the floor, and the unit was blowing cool air within a few hours. Mary knew that next time she would trust her gut and make it a point to research any company coming to her home.
She would not blindly go with the first company recommended to her, not when she had such a strong gut feeling that the air conditioning service would be a disaster. Thomas learned a lesson, too, that he should trust his wife’s instinct because it would have saved them a lot of money had they just listened to it.
The couple decided to reach out to the BBB to report their bad experience, but since they couldn’t prove that the first HVAC technician had damaged their unit, they had to let the rest of the ordeal go. The company never returned their phone call or attempted to reach out to them again, and the warranty company refused to share their initial report with the couple. However, they did accept the second opinion. Thus, they never knew what happened outside of their actual situation.
The Old Bait and Switch
Louise was working at home when the furnace quit working. She was pretty surprised, given that she had just bought her home and the AC had been inspected twice, first by her home inspector and again when she purchased new homeowner’s insurance. However, because she had insurance, she wasn’t too worried about it. She called an air conditioning service to take a look without researching, and the technician told her that the furnace was not correctly wired.
She was shocked; how had two companies missed this problem? Her husband was out of town, and she wanted to handle this alone, so she talked to the HVAC technician about what she could do about this situation. If the wiring was wrong, the warranty was void, and she had a bigger problem than she thought. She asked the tech what she should do. The tech stated that he could sell her a unit for $1,800. Since she did not know much about AC units, she thought this was an acceptable cost. It certainly seemed expensive to her, but in reality, it was way too cheap to be a reliable installation.
Louise was happy she was getting the issue taken care of before her husband got home. She knew he would turn it into a bigger fuss, and she wanted to just get it taken care of without all the hassle. Little did she realize that the HVAC technician was counting on her lack of knowledge and that he was pulling a bait and switch on her. The deal he was offering her was terrible, and there was a good chance that the wiring situation had been caused by him. While there was no way to prove it, it was highly suspicious that two inspection experts would miss wiring issues, which would suddenly pop up weeks later.
After signing the agreement, the air conditioning service told her it would be a few days before they could come back and install the unit because it had to be ordered. This seemed reasonable to her, as did the upfront payment, so she agreed to wait until they called her. A few days passed, and while she was uncomfortable in the hot heat, she thought nothing of it. However, by the end of the week, she was desperate for some relief and couldn’t believe that no one had even called her to update her on the delivery of the new unit.
She placed several phone calls to the air conditioning service all of Friday, but no one returned her call. Her husband was due back next week, and she really wanted to have this taken care of, so she continued to call throughout the weekend, but her calls went straight to the company voicemail. Even when she called the emergency line. Louise was quite confused now; how could a company run this way? Didn’t they have to pick up to help customers and get new jobs?
Finally, he returned her phone call late Monday and said he would be out on Tuesday. While she wasn’t happy with the service, she was happy that he was coming to finally take care of the issue. Tuesday, he came out, and the entire job only took about three hours. While Louise was happy that the job was done, it seemed to go much quicker than she thought any major air conditioning service should go. The technician told her everything was fine, packed up his tools, and left.
It was only 16 hours before the unit quit working altogether. She started calling the air conditioning service back non-stop, fully aware that they were not good at answering their calls, and wanted to get a solution quickly. He answered the next day and said he would come back out. He explained that one wire had not been put in correctly and that he could repair it, and everything would work better. Louise was very suspicious now as he claimed the original problem that got her here was faulty wiring. How could there continue to be wire issues after he had put in a new unit?
This time it was a month before the unit stopped working, and Louise’s husband, having heard all of the details, was pretty sure that this technician had pulled a bait and switch on his wife. Absolutely nothing lined up, so he talked to his home warranty company and asked that they recommend a new air conditioning service to come to fix the repair this time. Not only could they not get the original HVAC company to pick up the phone, but he had serious doubts that this guy knew how to do anything in the first place.
It only took the second company a few minutes to find that there was a loose valve that was leaking Freon all over the floor. Nothing was sealed properly following the installation, there were code issues all over the place, and the motor was overheating, which is why it kept quitting on them every time there was a hot spell. In addition, it turned out that the first technician never got the proper permits to fix the AC system, even though it took a full week to get back to the installation. When the couple reached out to them, he said he was not going to pay the fines and had no interest in working for them again.
The couple was flabbergasted but left with no options. His poor installation meant that they lost their warranty coverage, and now they had a unit that was probably only going to last a few years due to the extensive damage. Louise filed a complaint with the BBB about her air conditioning service, but there was nothing that she could do to actually fix the problem. Now they had to live with it.
If you need work done on your AC but don’t want to end up in one of the above situations, call One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas today to talk more about your AC situation.
See a previous blog on this topic here.
Check out our reviews here.