Frightening Stories Of Heating And AC Repair Gone Terribly Wrong
When it comes to heating and AC repair, there are two things that you need to always do. The first is to read reviews and do some research to make sure that you choose a qualified and experienced company to handle your repair. The second thing is to screen their customer service to make sure that they will take care of your concerns and problems. Most people think that any HVAC company is equipped to handle AC repair in the greater Texas region, but this is not the case. Just like you can get scammed or receive bad service in any service industry, you can battle to get proper AC repair.
However, the costs are much higher if your heating and AC repair does not go the way it should. There is always the risk of a leak and eventual water damage as well as the many problems associated with a lack of cool air during the hot Texas summer. If your AC does not work properly there are actual health risks to account for along with the potential for mold and other substances to grow due to the thick, humid summers. Plus, your HVAC system is a very expensive appliance, so you stand to lose a lot if you don’t allow the right company to work on it.
With all of these factors in mind, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to take a few extra screening measures. Don’t just blindly choose the first company you find, and don’t count on a quick turnaround time if you call during the summer months. Any heating and AC repair company with extra time on their hands during the summer months should be immediately suspicious. Make sure to read reviews of any company you are looking at, and call the customer service line before booking a visit to see just how easy it is to get a hold of someone.
Many people report over and over again that the customer service of their HVAC company is abysmal, but they feel stuck once they are in the middle of the repair process. Protect yourself from this outcome by screening customer service first. You will be grateful when you don’t end up stuck in a situation like the following two Texas citizens who learned the hard way what happens when you choose a random HVAC company to come out to your home. Take a minute to read these stories and then learn from them so you can protect your home and your wallet from unscrupulous companies.
Nathan noticed in April that his AC did not seem to be cooling his home efficiently. The weather was just starting to get warm in Texas, and while it was still early in the year, it just didn’t seem to evenly be dispersing around his home. Sometimes the air coming from the vents seemed to be warm. Nathan knew better than to wait until the hotter summer months to attempt to deal with heating and AC repair, he was a native Texan and knew just how fast things could warm up so he went ahead and called a company to come out and take a look.
The one thing Nathan didn’t pay attention to was the company that he was calling. He found a cheap service coupon online and figured that would be fine. He was thinking more about price than quality, which was his first mistake because most of the time, HVAC companies who offer extremely low prices find another way to make up the difference. It is not uncommon for them to lure in new customers with the promise of low service fees only to hit them with very overinflated repair costs, but Nathan didn’t know this. All he saw was a low fee and he was sold without doing any research on the actual company.
During the visit, the HVAC tech who came out stated that the unit just needed to be recharged. Nathan asked if there was a leak in the system, and the tech just shook his head and said that sometimes these things just happened. Older systems in particular sometimes needed to be topped off again with refrigerant. This seemed odd to Nathan, who had never heard of such a thing, but he just wanted to fix the problem, so he agreed to the $350 fix along with the service fee.
While he still worried about a leak, the costs were not exorbitant compared to what he knew some friends had paid for their AC repair so he was willing to pay them. It did bother him when the technician referred to his unit as old because it was only three years old so it seemed to him that there was no reason for a leak or for the refrigerant to magically be drying up. Still, he wasn’t an HVAC guy, which is why he called someone else to handle his repair.
Everything was fine for about a month and a half when Nathan slowly realized that his AC was still not properly cooling his house again. As the weather slowly got warmer it seemed like the house was getting warmer too. Even turning down the thermostat slightly wasn’t helping the situation and Nathan grew concerned the first technician had been wrong about the problem so he called the heating and AC repair company again and requested they send someone out for a recall. There was a problem, but not the one he expected.
Nathan thought that there was a leak in his system, but the new technician stated that the issue was an open cooling vent door in the attic. He said that his colleague (who happened to be new at the company) had left the cooling vent door open which is probably why all of the cold air was escaping out of the house making it appear the HVAC system wasn’t working. It turns out the HVAC system was probably cooling the attic space but pretty much nothing else. Nathan was very irritated to hear this, especially since energy costs were rising all the time, but he was at least glad that it was an easy fix and hopeful this would be the end of the problem.
The problem was that June inched on, and the temperatures continued to rise without too much relief in his home. By the end of the month, Nathan found himself on the phone with the heating and AC repair company again because his home was not properly cooling. His wife thought he should call another company, but if it was someone’s error again he wanted them to correct it. He didn’t want to pay a second company to clean up the first company’s issues.
This time around did not go as smoothly for Nathan as he struggled to get a hold of anyone at the HVAC company. He called around the clock and seemed to always get the voicemail. One time he thought he was on hold but the system hung up on him and he had to start all over again. Via nothing more than persistence and constant calling, Nathan finally got someone to answer his call after two days and was told it would be another week before they could send someone out. Nathan explained that he had already had them out to his home two times in the last month and that he wanted a solution now, but they claimed they were so busy they didn’t have anyone, and since his system was somewhat working, he was not a priority.
Nathan did not enjoy being told that, as he felt that as a current client who had two failed heating and AC repair visits in a row, he should absolutely be the priority. In fact, he felt they should be going out of their way to make things right for him, but they didn’t seem to care at all. His hands were tied though because this customer service agent wouldn’t offer him anything better and he wasn’t sure he could even get through to another one if he tried.
When the service date rolled around, Nathan was ready with a series of questions from the technician. He had some time to do some reading and research and strongly felt as if there was a leak in the unit. It was the only thing that seemed to explain why the unit was having problems cooling his home at this point. However, the technician said no, there was just an issue with the pressure levels and that it needed to have more Freon topped off again. Nathan was very weary at this point; everything he knew about refrigerant made it seem extremely odd that his levels needed topped off so frequently. They hadn’t even entered the hottest part of the summer yet, and there was no way that it should be just dissipating the way it seemed to be.
Plus, when he thought about it, it never seemed like his home had been comfortable this summer yet. Even topping off the levels only helped the AC work slightly better for a short time before it wasn’t cooling his home appropriately again. However, despite Nathan’s insistence, they told him again and again that it was just the Freon and there was no leak. Nathan paid out another $350, and the guy left.
Just like before, things seemed to get better for a short period of time, but as the temperatures grew towards unhealthy levels the AC stopped working again. This time Nathan was livid and asked for new tech to come out to his home. He wanted someone with experience and the ability to fix the issue for real. He also made it clear that he was not going to just pay for more Freon this time. He wanted something done so that he wouldn’t be calling again in another three weeks.
This was his fourth visit since the summer heat started, and Nathan was sick of dealing with an AC unit that didn’t work well. The unit was too new for this and he had spent too much money on heating and AC repair already to be dealing with this. The customer service agent said they would be happy to send someone new out, but once again it would be a week at least before they could get anyone to his house. At this point, Nathan was extremely angry. He figured by the fourth clean-up call, they should be able to get someone out to his home, but apparently, they didn’t care.
Judging by how horrible their customer service was, he suspected that they made him wait because they felt like they already had him on the line as a former customer. The first time he needed help he received immediate attention and had an appointment the next day. The last three times, he had been placed on the back burner and could hardly get someone to answer the phone, let alone service his unit. Nathan felt like, at this point, he should have been treated like a VIP, but instead, he was struggling to even get their attention.
A week later after a very uncomfortable week for Nathan and his family, the fourth technician came out to his home and told him that there was a leak in the evaporator coils. They said that not only would the evaporator coils have to be replaced, which would cost him $1,400, but that he would have to pay for removing and replacing the Freon once again, which would cost him a bunch of extra fees. In addition, they stated that he needed a permit for the heating and AC repair, and that would cost him even more money.
Nathan was floored; if there was a leak he suspected it had been there all along, and this company had been slowly overcharging him and stringing him along to keep making money off of him. He also didn’t believe that he should have to pay all of those extra fees, especially when the issue was misdiagnosed three times. He was finally ready to pay attention to his gut instinct, which told him to find another heating and AC repair company for a second opinion. Had he done that when he first started getting irritated he may have had a better working unit back at the beginning of summer instead of ending up with a “still broken” AC in the middle of July.
This time around Nathan did some research and talked to friends and co-workers about who they used for HVAC repair. He wanted a heating and AC repair company that would stand behind their work and be easy to access if he had any questions. He also wanted one that was known for its honesty. It took him a few days to pick a company, but he already felt a lot better about them just from his first phone discussion than he did with the other company.
When the new company came out they told Nathan that his evaporator coils looked fine. It was likely that the other company was trying to fleece him for more money because the evaporator coils cost more. Then he would have ended up needing a second service because the leak was actually in the condenser coils. Given the fact that Nathan had already been misled four times by the first company, he believed this was probably the truth.
This time around the more reputable heating and AC repair company suggested that Nathan let them replace the condenser coils which should solve the problem. Fixing the leak was all that Nathan had to do, and since his unit was still on the younger side it made sense to invest in it. Instantly Nathan knew this company was a better fit for him because they weren’t trying to upsell him or tell him that his unit was old and he should think about replacement. He also liked the tech a lot more because he answered questions and seemed like he was there to help.
This time around Nathan scheduled the repair, and although it took until the end of July, when this heating and AC repair company left his house they didn’t have to come back. Immediately Nathan could tell that the AC was working 100% better, and his home was comfortable once again. While he didn’t need any AC repair for the rest of the summer, Nathan was so happy with the company that he went ahead and scheduled his annual HVAC service with them. It amazed him how much better the entire process was with just a little research and he regretted waiting so long to have done so.
Shoddy Service, Shoddy Solutions
John and Kelly noticed that their AC was not working when it was 86 degrees in their home, even though the thermostat was set to 72. This was clearly an issue, and it was only at the start of June they knew they had to do something about it right away. Much hotter days were just around the corner, and they did not want to have to deal with it later. They knew that it may be almost impossible to find a heating and AC repair company come July.
So, they quickly did a Google search and found an HVAC company in their area. They didn’t check reviews or anything else, just looked to see who had online appointments and booked one. This allowed them to skip the first glimpse into the poor customer service offered by the company, but they would soon see it firsthand for themselves. In fact, it would be the number one thing they would regret as their battle with this HVAC company would end up stretching far into summer over the course of several different repair visits. They would regret their decision to work with them very soon and learn a lesson about always screening a heating and AC company.
The first visit brought a technician to their home who was very rude and only stayed about 20 minutes. They didn’t even see him get tools out of his truck while investigating the outdoor and indoor unit and were unsure of what he even did. At the end of his quick check, he told them that the AC looked fine, and he couldn’t explain why the AC wasn’t cooling down the house. He told them that it “might” be the thermostat and they should consider replacing it. John asked if he could replace the thermostat if that was the problem and was told that he didn’t do that. This was a bit surprising to John and Kelly because if an HVAC technician does not replace a thermostat, then who on earth would?
John ended up calling a friend who was handy, and they upgraded the current thermostat to a smart one and installed it. He was a bit unsure about the process and also upset that the HVAC company wouldn’t help, but soon more upset because even with the new thermostat in the AC was still blowing warm air. Immediately he told Kelly to call back the company and schedule a second visit because, clearly, this technician was wrong. Kelly called but was sent straight to voicemail, so she tried again. This time she was put on hold for about 20 minutes but then the system dumped her call.
Kelly ended up spending the rest of the day on this carousel and had issues getting through to anyone. Finally, someone answered the phone, and she was able to schedule a visit. She explained that someone had been out to her house last week and told her that the thermostat was broken, but after replacing it the problem wasn’t fixed, and her house was still not cooling. The receptionist asked if they had replaced the thermostat, and Kelly explained they didn’t do that. The receptionist then said if they didn’t replace it they would have to come to check it before they could start a recall for the last visit and warned this time there might be a service fee if they found the thermostat was the problem. Kelly was incensed and told them that her husband wanted them to, but they wouldn’t do it, and the receptionist just stated that didn’t sound like their work.
Kelly was tempted to tell them that if they had to pay the service fee they would just start fresh with a new company, but the temperature was rising outdoors as it got closer to the end of June and she knew she would have trouble getting someone into her at this point of the season. So she begrudgingly agreed to the potential extra charge and got an appointment for the end of the week.
Thursday rolled around, and this time Kelly had to stay home to take care of the situation with the heating and AC repair company because John had an important meeting at work that he couldn’t miss. Kelly was a bit nervous about handling it because she didn’t know much about AC systems and didn’t trust this company, but John told her that she could do it and just try not to overthink it. To herself, Kelly was thinking the only problem she was going to have was with the rude technicians, not with the actual repairs, but that wasn’t the first issue at all.
It turned out the first issue was getting the HVAC technician to actually show up. He was slated to arrive between 8 am to 10 am, so when 10:30 am rolled around, Kelly got on the phone to start the rodeo with customer service. It took her about five calls to reach someone who said they would check on the heating and AC repair technician’s status and call her back. It was 11 am before anyone called her back and stated that the technician was behind and that it would be closer to noon before he was able to get out to her house. Kelly didn’t have a choice and called into work to let them know that her half-day off turned into a full day. While she didn’t mind missing the work, she was a bit upset that she had spent the day boiling in the hot house. She would have preferred going somewhere in the morning and coming back at noon if this was going to be the situation.
Soon it was 1 pm, and Kelly was really annoyed and called the service again. They told her that the technician was just finishing up with his first call and would be at her home next. She was quite annoyed and let them know about it. She understood that sometimes things ran over, but it would have been more appropriate for someone to tell her they were behind so that she could have planned accordingly. She had wasted her entire day in a hot, hot house at this point and was no closer to getting help.
Finally, the heating and AC repair technician showed up around 2 pm and didn’t even apologize for being late. He took a quick look at the indoor and outdoor unit and told Kelly that he really didn’t know what was wrong. They would have to wait for the company to send out a more experienced technician. Kelly was shocked and asked what he meant by a more experienced tech. He told her that he was just a contracted worker and that he didn’t actually work for the company. They would need someone with more experience who did. Now she was really flabbergasted and no closer to an actual fix for the HVAC machine. She didn’t even know that companies could do this.
Kelly didn’t want to get stuck spending a day calling customer service, so she asked the man if he could call and set up an appointment, but he apologized to her and told her that he didn’t deal with scheduling and just went where they told him to go. This day had been a total waste, and now she had to spend the rest of it calling the company to try to make an appointment with an actual heating and AC repair technician, something she assumed she had been doing in the first place. At this point, she had no other choice unless she wanted to spend weeks waiting for her turn, so she resigned herself to it and got on the phone. It was the same runaround, but eventually, she got an appointment for Monday.
The company attempted to schedule her out, but she was angry and explained this was their third visit and that she wasn’t going to deal with a hothouse for much longer when they had done nothing wrong. After spending a lot of time on hold the company eventually came around and got her on the Monday schedule. She called John and told him that it was his turn to deal with this; she had enough of messing with these people. Over the weekend the temperatures finally peaked over 100 so the couple decided to get a hotel and relax in the cool air until Monday came with the hopes that this would finally get resolved on Monday. It had now been over two weeks, and they still didn’t have a working AC system.
Monday rolled around, and this time, it was John’s turn to sit in the hot house and hope for a resolution to their problem. Lucky for him, the heating and AC repair technician was actually on time and seemed to know what he was doing. Of course, John had not sat through any of these marathon sessions yet; that had been all Kelly, so his point of view was different than hers at this point. He chatted a bit with the guy and felt confident that he knew what was going on, so he left him to do this thing.
The technician found him in the living room and told him that he was fairly certain the compressor was the problem. He said that this would be an expensive repair, but since the AC unit was only four years old it made sense to do the repair versus attempting to replace the unit. John didn’t want to get into a complete replacement, so he quickly agreed and asked what the timeline would be for that. The guy got on the phone back with the home office and said that they had the compressor in stock, so they could probably get it done this afternoon if he agreed. John was delighted and told him they would do it. It took about four hours for the entire process, and he was a bit perturbed at the end when he found out that in addition to the compressor, he would have to pay $595 for a new Freon, but at least the issue was finally done.
The heating and AC repair technician left the house, and John sat waiting for the house to cool down, but after an hour, it was clear that the AC unit was still not working the way that it should be. He couldn’t believe that after all of this and the expense of replacing the compressor, his home was still not cool. It was a bit cooler than before, but paying for AC and only getting his home down to 80 degrees was not his idea of success. This time he called another company, but their waitlist put him out for another three weeks. He took the appointment but called back the first company to see if someone could get him in faster, given this was all their fault.
He couldn’t get anyone to give him a straight answer about how the AC could still not be working. After three visits, a fair amount of money, and almost a month with no AC, John was quite irate. He asked to talk to a manager and was told that they would take his information and call him back. John had no choice but to wait because he couldn’t get anyone else to come out to his home either due to the busy season. Then to top it off, last month’s electric bill came in the mail and was $846! Usually, their electric bill was around $150, so clearly, something crazy was happening. Their home wasn’t even cooling correctly, and they were paying almost seven times more in electrical bills.
John and Kelly were exhausted both financially and in terms of patience. It seemed it didn’t matter what they did; the bills just kept going up higher and higher. They spent an afternoon on the phone trying to get a hold of someone at the heating and AC repair company again, and after the usual runaround, they finally talked to someone who told them that they would call the manager again and he would get back to them.
Finally, the manager called John back and said that they weren’t sure why they continued to have problems, but he would come out personally to their home to check out the AC unit if that is what they wanted. John said yes, that is exactly what he wanted because he could not take much more of this ordeal. The heating and AC repair company scheduled a visit for three days, and the couple hoped that the fourth time was a charm. They wanted to go with another company but were still on a waiting list and just needed to get this over with. They certainly couldn’t afford to get another electric bill that was so exorbitant.
The manager spent about an hour looking at the AC unit this time and seemed to discount a lot of the usual problems as he worked along. John was trying to watch, but he was doing, but the heat outside the home was intense, and the manager was not the chatty type. In fact, he seemed annoyed that John was there watching his every move, but he didn’t know what else he could do at this point about the situation.
Finally, the manager told him that there was a burnt-out wire leading to the fan that was causing the fan to malfunction. The burnt-out wire had caused the fan to continuously run, which is what pushed up the electric bill and also hindered the ability of the unit to cool the home properly. It took about ten minutes to fix the wire and about $30 dollars since the labor was free since it was a recall. John was incredulous, it had been a month of hot weather and a crazy bill, not to mention how much they had paid in repairs that were apparently not necessary, and all it turned out to be was one bad wire that no one had noticed.
He brought this up to the manager, who shrugged and said sometimes this happens. John pushed him further, stating that he felt he should be reimbursed for his high electric bill, but the manager told him that they don’t do that and are not liable for repairs that are missed. John asked him than just who he should be since this was the fourth visit, and he just shrugged and said he had to get onto the next job and enjoy the day.
John called four times after that and got the same runaround from everyone he talked to. It looked like he was just going to have to swallow all of the money they spent on unneeded repairs and the thermostat. He worked out a payment plan with his electric company but was on the waitlist to get a service from another heating and AC repair company. He wanted to get in somewhere else because he was never using this company again.
If you need heating and AC repair but are afraid to end up in a similar situation as John or Nathan, make sure to protect yourself by doing the research before hiring anyone. We pride ourselves on offering transparent, honest, and reliable service at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. Our reviews speak for themselves. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.
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