There are two types of people in an emergency, the type who takes a second to breathe, take stock of the situation, and then make an action plan, and the type who panics and takes action without thinking. When it comes to emergency heating and AC repair, you always want to be the first person. It is easy to be impulsive and choose the first HVAC company that you come across in your internet search, but this is not a smooth move. In fact, it most likely will end in disaster if this is your approach.
This is because there are a lot of emergency heating and AC repair companies that are only after your money. They don’t actually care if they solve your problems, and in many cases, won’t do more than is necessary. Usually, a little research and a thorough review of reviews are enough to properly diagnose the issue, but some people don’t realize they need to take this extra step. The following are a few shocking stories of people who had nightmare HVAC repair experiences.
Unbelievable Switch & Baits
Greg called for emergency heating and AC repair when his AC unit broke down in the middle of the summer. He knew that his AC was worn-out and on its last legs, so he didn’t argue with the technician and told him that it was time to replace it. He didn’t have too many questions because he trusted the HVAC company to choose the right unit, but he did want to make sure that the new unit was a high-efficiency unit to help offset the cost of his electrical bills. That was the one point that Greg stressed to the HVAC technician a few times, who said that they could accommodate this request without too much trouble.
The only issue was that it would take a couple of weeks for the new unit to be installed. Given it is the thick of the summer, Greg could understand that it could be hard to find an AC unit, but he was still unhappy with the wait time anyhow. He felt a little bit like he was being strung along so the company could fit in new customers while he was in the wings waiting. Regardless, he didn’t seem to have a choice as he had to upgrade his unit, and the AC wasn’t going to work. He would just have to figure out how to live until the unit was ordered and arrived at his home.
About two and a half weeks later, the emergency heating and AC repair company called Greg to schedule his installation. At this point, there was nothing rushed about the job, but Greg was ready to get the new AC in. A few nights, he had gone to his friends’ houses because the heat just got more unbearable with each passing day. The installation was scheduled for two days from the phone call, and he was more than ready.
Greg expected that they would come out before the installation to remove the old unit since it wasn’t working, but the crew said they would take care of it all at once. Greg also asked if the new unit would be delivered to his home prior to the installation, as this was done at a previous home when the AC was replaced. However, the company told him that they would just bring it with them, which made him a bit nervous because this didn’t seem to be the process that he expected when he agreed to a new AC unit after talking to the emergency heating and AC repair tech.
Still, he wanted to get some relief from the hot heat, so he decided to just go with the flow and get his new AC installed. Greg had never heard of someone having problems with the installation of a unit. A lot of people had issues with AC repair, but he couldn’t think of one problem with an installation, so he decided not to worry about it. In his mind, this should be a simple plug-and-play situation, and he figured just about any trained HVAC technician should be able to handle it.
While Greg should have trusted his instinct, he isn’t the first or the last person to undervalue the importance of a proper AC installation. In reality, the installation of a new AC is one of the largest factors that influence the lifespan of a new unit. Unfortunately, Greg did not know that, and instead of trusting his gut feeling, he ignored it to make the process easier. Easier does not equate to better, as Greg would find out soon enough.
The HVAC technician showed up bright and early on the day of installation, which impressed Greg, but that was before he realized that the installation process would take almost nine hours. It was a very long day, and while the technician told Greg that he could leave, he didn’t feel comfortable leaving his home with the repair guy alone in it. Greg was mystified why only one tech was doing all of the work, but he knew it was the busy season, and that must have been why.
It took until almost noon before the old unit was fully out and in the grass, and then it took almost six more hours for the new unit to be installed and running. As the cool air filled Greg’s home he instantly felt his blood pressure lowering. It had been a long day, and at this point, there was nothing fast about this emergency heating and AC repair visit, but it was worth it when the cool air slowly started making his room bearable again.
Greg was so happy that he wouldn’t have to spend his days looking for ways to avoid his home that he was ready to forgive almost everything, including the time it took. However, he would soon learn he wasn’t that happy about the process. In fact, there were a few things coming that he would not be able to let go of, let alone forgive.
The city came out to inspect the new unit, as was customary within the city limits, and the installation failed the city inspection because the amp breaker was not upgraded along with the unit. The new unit required a 15 amp breaker in place of the old 20 amp breaker, but the technician failed to follow through with this update. It was unclear why this happened, but it seemed like an easy enough fix, even though it was an annoying one. He would have to deal with a few hours of no AC again while the situation was remedied, but compared to how long it took to get AC the first time around, he knew that he could make it.
Greg called the emergency heating and AC repair company again to tell them what was wrong. They sent the same technician back out to his house, but the results were not what Greg expected to happen. He watched the technician a little closer this time and felt that everything was going in the right direction. It seemed that the breaker was replaced, and he felt confident that this would be the last time that he would need to deal with his HVAC system for quite some time. After all, one of the perks of a brand-new AC unit should be the fact that you don’t have to worry about repairs.
Unfortunately for Greg, it wasn’t the last time he would call the emergency heating and AC repair company, although it would be another opportunity to become baffled by their decisions. The city came back for the second inspection, and it failed again because the 20 amp breaker was still there. Greg was mystified, he had seen the technician remove the breaker, so it didn’t make sense how this would happen. It turned out that the tech had removed the 20 amp breaker, installed a new 15-amp breaker, taken a photo of the newly installed breaker so that he could place it in the service report, and then put the 20 amp breaker back into its old place.
No one from the HVAC company would explain to Greg why this happened, but it seemed extremely unethical and maybe even unlawful for this to have happened. He didn’t know all of the legalities surrounding the inspection and the city report, but he knew that it sounded pretty sketchy. Why on earth would someone come to a home and pretend to install something, only to remove it and leave it the way that it was before it arrived? The entire thing sounded crazy, and he felt even more ridiculous for paying someone to do it.
Greg called the company five times, attempting to speak to a manager, but he couldn’t get a hold of the manager, who suddenly was either busy, out of the office, or on a short vacation. No one would tell him why the breaker was not properly replaced, but he was persistent because he wanted it fixed so that it would pass inspection and he could enjoy his AC without this hanging over his head. He never did get to talk to the manager, but eventually, he was able to get the company to send out another emergency heating and AC repair technician to finish the job correctly. All he was ever told was that “They were looking into the situation.”
Interestingly enough, the technician that came out had a copy of the report and showed Greg’s wife the report which had a picture of a 15 amp breaker installed. Clearly, that amp was not installed now. Greg’s wife took a photo of the report while she had the opportunity and both Greg and his wife asked the technician how or why this would happen. He admitted that he had no idea what the motivation behind this was but that he was going to make it right. This time Greg paid sharp attention to the repair and made sure the right breaker was installed before the technician left.
Finally, the hassle was over, but now Greg had larger concerns. If the breaker was not installed correctly, then what else might have been done incorrectly when the AC unit was installed? Now all Greg could think about were the things that seemed odd to him. For instance, the unit was not being delivered straight to the home to minimize the damage, and the fact that only one technician worked on the installation of the unit. Now he was concerned that more damage and mistakes were going to pop up down the road, and he would have no one to turn to for help. He knew he wasn’t going to trust that company to handle any type of repairs again.
This prompted Greg to start researching a new emergency heating and AC repair company because, clearly, this one was not worth his time or his money again. The only thing he regretted was that he had not taken more time to read the reviews in the first place because it seemed that the company was known for this type of behavior. It was a hard way to learn a valuable lesson, but from that point forward, Greg always did research before hiring someone to come out to his home.
A Useless Fix
Hillary and Bob just wanted their AC to work again. When it broke down during the summer, all they could think about was getting an emergency heating and AC repair company that could quickly repair it. Their warranty company gave them the name of a company to call, and they immediately reached out to them. This is where things first went wrong because they should have done some research before they agreed to work with this company, but in their haste to get a solution, they ignored common sense.
They called the company repeatedly and kept getting a busy signal or a voicemail. Both Hillary and Bob left a few messages, but no one returned their calls. At the end of the day, someone finally called back and said that they could come out in two days since it was the end of the business day today. Hillary was extremely annoyed because it was nowhere near the end of the business day when she had first started to call, but there was nothing she could say now. She just wanted to get it fixed.
The couple set up the appointment and then made plans to sleep at a friend’s house the next day because it was too hot to stay in their home without any AC. It was a pain to sleep at a friend’s house and then go straight to work, and extremely inconvenient as they were not college kids anymore and had professional appearances to maintain at work, but they didn’t know what else to do. Unfortunately, this was not the end of their saga.
The HVAC company came out two days later as planned but just played with the thermostat for about 15 minutes and said things were fixed. It didn’t seem like it was getting any cooler in the home, but they told Bob that it would take a couple of hours for the air to cycle and things to kick in. Bob blindly believed them and let them leave. Hillary and Bob sat in the warm house for two hours before accepting that nothing was done. In fact, if anything, it was hotter than it had ever been in their home. They called the company again but couldn’t seem to get to anyone. Even though the website and phone directory said that the company offered emergency heating and AC repair, it didn’t seem as if anything helped you get ahold of anyone in an emergency.
It was back to playing phone tag with the company for the night until, finally, Bob managed to get ahold of someone who said they would send someone new out the second time. The next day someone came out and got the AC working again, but a few hours later, it was out again. This would happen a total of four times before finally, a technician would do more than just look at their AC. At this point, Hillary and Bob were angry and paying attention when the emergency heating and AC repair techs came in. They noticed the first few had not even taken out any tools. How could you figure out what was wrong with an AC conditioner if you didn’t do a thing?
This time around, the technician apologized for the lack of action by the first servicemen and explained that they were probably looking for common issues instead of large issues. However, he stated that it was the compressor that had gone bad. Until the couple replaced the compressor in their AC unit, it would not work properly. Bob and Hillary didn’t know what to think, but they knew that their AC was not working and they had to do something. A compressor repair appeared to be a more legitimate repair, and they were hopeful that maybe this would work.
The major problem with this was that the company said it would take five days to order the compressor, so they couldn’t replace it right now. That meant five more days of sleeping in the heat or staying at a friend’s house. This was after almost a week of playing phone tag with the so-called emergency heating and AC repair company that kept charging them for service calls but not actually fixing the problem.
At this point, Hilliary wanted to get a second opinion because she didn’t trust anything these people said, but Bob convinced her to just let them do the repair. He was worried that it could take another week to get a second opinion, and this time the technician had actually found a problem that was real and made sense. Hillary didn’t like it, but Bob eventually talked her into it because she also just wanted to get it fixed and over with and didn’t want to stretch out the process any longer than it had to be.
After a very hot five days, the compressor repair date rolled around, and the technician showed up to complete the repair. He was three hours later, which did not make Bob very happy since he had taken off work to be home and would now have to take the rest of the day off, but at least he showed up. For a while, it was questionable whether anyone would show, and when he tried to call the emergency heating and AC repair company to check on the status of his repair visit, no one answered the phone.
It took a few hours for the technician to replace the compressor, and Bob did hear some noise, so he knew that this technician was actually doing work which made him feel better. He knew now to pay attention enough to ensure that something was happening. Leaving the technicians to work fully on their own had not worked out well in the past. Still, Bob was distracted by work phone calls and other tasks, so he wasn’t watching the whole time.
This may have been a mistake, as more issues were coming, but Bob had no way of knowing this at the time. Once the compressor was installed, the HVAC technician told the couple that the problem was fixed and they could use their AC again. The duo was delighted, and once they turned it on and their home started to cool, they were overjoyed. They quickly forgot all of the problems and concerns they had about the company and thanked the technician profusely for all of their help.
Everything seemed to be going well, but that ended pretty quickly when Hillary walked outside to take the trash out and noticed that the pipes were leaking. At first, she was puzzled, it hadn’t rained in days, and there was no reason for anything to be leaking out of the pipes. She looked around for signs that the tech had left something and then realized Freon was leaking. Hillary picked up her phone to call the company, but of course, no one answered. Now not only was she frustrated, but she was anxious that her pets might find the spill. Hillary headed in to talk to Bob and see what she could do about the spilled refrigerant.
More bad news was on the way. The Freon was not on the ground because of a thoughtless spill; it turned out that there were now leaks in the outdoor coils. Bob became highly suspicious that the holes were made by the technician while he was installing the compressor because there had never been any Freon leaks before the service. In fact, they didn’t notice any problems with refrigerant levels, nor had anyone ever mentioned low levels. Either the technician was extremely shoddy when he did his repair work, or he purposely poked holes so that the couple would need their services once again.
Hillary and Bob were outraged and immediately started taking turns calling the emergency heating and AC repair company. Not only were they planning to demand that someone come to fix this mess, but they wanted to be reimbursed for their time. This was an emergency, and they still couldn’t get anyone to come out. They couldn’t believe that they were sitting in this situation once again. However, a few hours later, it got worse because the AC started blowing warm air and then died. Most likely, it ran out of Freon to cool the air and overheated.
Now Hillary and Bob were once again sitting in a warm home with no AC, no emergency heating and AC repair company to help, and substantially less money in their savings account. They had had enough, so Hillary got online to find an emergency heating and AC repair company with positive reviews to come help clean up the mess. Obviously, it wasn’t going to take care of itself, and enough was enough.
The new technician was able to come out within a few hours and was very nice to the couple. However, he had no choice but to break the bad news that some of the coils were damaged. Ordinarily, his advice at this point would have been to replace the outdoor unit, given its age and the fact that it was leaking. Freon leaks require a lot of repair work, and he didn’t want them to invest too much into a unit that was over six years old.
However, given that they had just had a new compressor installed that day, it was a trickier situation. They had just put a substantial amount of money into the unit, so it seemed wasteful to just start over by purchasing a new unit. The technician from the new company explained this in full but let them know that while he could patch the leaks, there was no guarantee of how long the patches would last. It would depend on the extent of the damage and the length of the hot summer, which was unpredictable at best.
Now Hillary and Bob really didn’t know what to do, but they knew that they were very angry to even be in this spot. After four visits, they would have hoped that some HVAC technician would have figured out the problem. To think that they may have deliberately sabotaged their home AC made it even worse.
They were slightly relieved to have found an emergency heating and AC repair company they could trust with a reasonable turnaround time, but they still had to make an uncomfortable decision. Ultimately, since they had just purchased a new compressor the couple decided to attempt to repair the leaky coils and see how long that would last. They agreed they would not sink much more money into repairing the unit, but they wanted to see if they could at least get one more summer out of this unit after all of the hassles they had endured.
The technician agreed to make the repair but told them to be careful about talking to the old company again. He informed Hillary and Bob that some companies would purposefully create a leak so that they could keep recharging the Freon (which is expensive) instead of actually fixing a problem. This creates a natural need for future repairs so that they can rack up quite a bit of money before the customer catches on.
Hillary and Bob were floored because now they were pretty sure this was what had been happening to them. The first company likely purposefully did not fix any issues so that they could keep coming out to the home and creating more service reports for the warranty company to pay. It was a terrible way to run a business, and Bob and Hillary were both angry that they had fallen for the scam. Both thought they knew better than to fall for something that was so obvious in retrospect. Especially when Bob thought about how he didn’t even see anyone use tools the first few times the HVAC technicians had come out to the home.
In the end, the second company was able to patch the leaks, and the AC did make it one more summer. However, the following winter was rough, and by the spring, it was clear that the couple had to replace their unit completely. It just didn’t make sense to continue to sink money into the old unit. While they had reached out to both the warranty company and the BBB, they never heard back, and there was no monetary compensation offered.
Thus, they had to replace the unit completely out of pocket. The one thing they didn’t do was go back to the first emergency heating and AC repair company. They liked the second company that had come out to evaluate the leaks and were honest about their approach and the issue. If they had spent a little researching companies before they got to this point, they might have found the second company before all of the damage was done. It was something that Hillary and Bob would often reflect on over the next few years.
Service Charges But No Relief
Hillary and Bob were not the only people on their street that hassled with this company. Unbeknownst to them, their neighbors down the street had an equally bad experience with the same emergency heating and AC repair company. In fact, the neighbors would bond over their experiences later that summer at a neighborhood block party, but they would regret that the topic had not come up sooner. Had someone brought up HVAC repair options or asked for advice, Hillary could have warned Stacy that the first HVAC company was nothing but trouble.
Unfortunately, Stacy didn’t know this and just went with a name that looked familiar (it turns out it was because she had seen the truck in Hillary’s driveway). When her AC went out, she knew that she needed emergency heating and AC repair quickly, and she didn’t do any research. Had she picked up the phone to ask Hillary for her opinion on the company, she could have saved herself a lot of frustration, but she just assumed since they were in Hillary’s driveway at some point, they must have been a good company.
Stacy quickly experienced an issue similar to Bob and Hillary’s when the technician arrived at her home and stated that he was unable to find any problem. Stacy stared at him and then told him the problem is it was 85 inside the house, and the AC was on. Clearly, something wasn’t working very well. In fact, when the HVAC tech first got there, it had been 76, so things were getting worse by the minute.
Stacy continued to press him, stating that it was obvious something was wrong and he needed to find the issue because it was too hot outside for the tech to leave without doing something. The AC was not working right, and they needed someone that could figure it out. She asked if the company could send someone else out, but the tech assured her that he knew what he was doing and would get to the bottom of the issue.
While she didn’t feel good about waiting with the same technician, she wanted an answer quickly, so she let him keep looking. Like Bob, she noticed that he hardly used any tools, and she wondered what type of HVAC technician came to inspect a unit without actually using tools. She figured he must keep everything in the service van but could access things as he needed them. Finally, he came into the living room to tell her that he thought the issue was with a short in the wire to the outdoor unit. According to the HVAC technician, her AC unit was now good to go, and it would take a few minutes for things to start cooling down, but they were good to go.
Stacy thanked him, paid the fee, and then kicked back her feet to enjoy the cold air. There was just one problem, the cold air never came. After an hour, Stacy started to get irate and began to call the company. She was able to get a customer service representative who did not help at all. They told her that she probably needed to wait longer for the problem to resolve if the technician said it would take a minute, but this idea was absurd to her. If a wire had been corrected, then the cool air should start to work instantly, and she could feel the warm air coming from her air vents. This wasn’t about the efficiency of her AC; it was about the fact that her AC wasn’t working at all.
After arguing with the customer rep, Stacy attempted to call the emergency heating and AC repair line of the company, hoping to talk to a technician instead of a customer service agent. She soon found that she couldn’t get anyone to pick up her calls. In fact, she called over 12 times, and not one phone call was picked up, leading her to believe that they were screening their calls and purposefully ignoring her.
Frustrated, Stacy decided to call Hillary and Bob since she knew they had worked with the company to see what they thought. The news she got wasn’t good. When she heard their story, her heart instantly sank because now, in addition to dealing with the fact that the company was unresponsive, she was convinced they were poorly trained and potentially sketchy. Now she was worried about what else they may have done while in her home and if her AC would ever turn back on.
Stacy desperately wished that she had made that phone call to Hillary and Bob before she called the emergency heating and AC repair company to come out to her home. She was so focused on making sure that she got her AC on again that she skipped talking to others about their recommendations and just went into the situation with blind faith. She could have saved herself all of this hassle if she just picked up her phone to text Hillary about how their AC repair had gone.
She knew now this was why everyone made such a big deal out of screening companies and looking for reviews. Never again would she allow anyone in her home without gathering information about them.
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