If you live in Texas then you are probably not a stranger to the idea of air conditioning service. In Texas, there is no leeway when it comes to having a working AC. In fact, it is a necessity because the summer heat gets so hot it is actually unsafe to stay in a home without AC. With that in mind, you might be thinking about calling a company to come out and inspect your AC and make sure that it is ready to go for the coming season. However, it is important that you don’t opt for the cheapest AC company or the one that you find first.
This time of year, there are dozens of companies all offering tuneup and air conditioning service offers. You will see them online, in neighborhood flyers, and advertised on street corners. The low prices and service plans can make them very enticing, but it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Many people end up paying the high costs associated with a failed AC service, so you need to be careful when choosing a company.
Bear in mind that your AC is probably one of the two most expensive appliances in your home (right up there with your furnace.) it should be treated like an investment, which means you shouldn’t let just anyone work on it. It pays to be discerning when it comes to your AC. In the same way, you wouldn’t let just anyone work on your car; you need to put some thought out of who you allow in your home. Not every HVAC technician is trained the same, and not every air conditioning service company can be trusted.
To help put this in perspective, the following are the accounts of several people who paid the high price of choosing the wrong companies to handle their air conditioning service. These people ended up paying way too much for damage and issues that could have been avoided. Take a minute to read these stories and then think for a second more about who you let service your AC. A little bit of forethought can save you a lot of money in the long run. 15 minutes of research is often all it takes to prevent yourself from a disaster.
AC Tuneup Gone Horribly South
Mary knew that it was smart to have an AC tuneup before the hot heat set in, so she jumped online to look at companies who could come out and schedule one during the spring. There were so many companies that she quickly got overwhelmed and decided to deal with them when she had more time. She knew that she should do a little research, but since her husband died she hated handling any of these things. It was something that could wait for another day.
A few days later, she went to get the mail and found a mailing flyer with an air conditioning service deal. She took it to be a sign, and she liked the nice low price attached to it, so she called the company to set up a tune-up visit. Mary was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were able to fit her in the next day. In hindsight, the open availability should have been a sign that maybe the company isn’t as professional as it should be, but she was delighted to have checked the task off her list. Plus, she hadn’t even had to ask her sons to help her, and she hated to bother them if she didn’t have to. So, all in all, it seemed to work out just fine.
The next day the company came and told her that the air conditioning service wouldn’t take too long. All she had to do was keep the side door open, and they would come in when needed. Mary figured this was pretty easy and went back into the living room to watch her shows. She hated to miss out on any detail, and if they didn’t need her there was no reason to watch. After all, she didn’t know much about the AC unit anyhow, so it was not like she was going to be any help if she hung out and watched.
After the service was complete, they came in to talk to her and said that most things seemed fine, but she should keep an eye on her outdoor unit. This puzzled her a bit because it seemed like they spent the most time on her indoor unit, but she dismissed it. Surely they knew what they were doing, but the unit was working fine now, so she wasn’t too concerned. She wrote them a check, and they left. She didn’t notice anything amiss after the air conditioning service until she walked into the utility room to do her laundry.
She was quickly shocked and didn’t know what to think. There were sheets of metal hanging off the side, and it looked like there was stuff hanging off of the pipes. She called them back, but they didn’t answer the phone. Mary didn’t know what to do. She certainly didn’t expect that this would happen after a tuneup. Things were worse than they were before. She called them again, and no one answered the phone. She didn’t know what to do at this point but knew that she couldn’t leave it like this.
Begrudgingly she ended up calling her son, which was exactly what she wanted to avoid, but she had no choice at this point. He came over within the hour and took a look. He explained that the AC blower walls were not attached again and popped them back into place. However, he wasn’t happy either as he should not have had to deal with this if his mother paid for the service. He also noticed that the pipes were not taped properly to seal the air so that it wasn’t escaping as the cool air came into the home. Plus, the foam guards were left half-hanging, which also was an issue. Mary’s son took care of what he could but told her that he was going to call the company and talk to them about what the technician had done. He wasn’t happy and felt like his mother was taken advantage of.
The next day the air conditioning service company called Mary back and apologized profusely, stating they had talked to her son and were sorry for the condition that they had left her home. They stated that the technician they sent out was newly trained, and they thought that he was ready to handle AC tuneups on his own, but clearly, that was not the case. Mary was a kind person, so she accepted their apology and told them that it was okay. While it was not ideal, she could accept that accidents happen. She didn’t think much about it as her son had fixed the issues, and her AC was running, so there was no reason to cry over spilled milk at this point.
It was about a month when her AC stopped working. She knew that the repairman had mentioned the compressor, so she called the air conditioning service company back up and asked if they could come out and look at her AC before she talked to her warranty company. If it was the compressor she figured they would be able to quickly fix it. However, when they got there they said that the problem was occurring outside of her home. They told her warranty company that there was no problem with the compressor but normal wear and tear.
Mary was confused by this, she made sure that she turned up her AC system every year, and no one had said that her unit was in rough shape or starting to show signs of wear. She was confused when the technician left but did not agree to the service because she felt at this point something was off. She wasn’t about to spend more money on a situation that didn’t make sense to her. She called her warranty company, but they hadn’t heard anything from the techs back.
It was over a week and a half before her warranty company called and said that they would have to deny her claim. Mary was shocked; why on earth would they have already decided when she was still waiting on a second AC company for a second opinion? It turned out that the first company had contacted the warranty company after she told them she would not be taking her advice and told them that Mary had attempted to remove a coil and then damaged the unit when she couldn’t put it back in the right.
Mary was appalled. She knew nothing about her AC unit, which meant that she never would have dreamed of trying to do any repair on her own. In fact, the closest thing to self-repair that anyone had done in her home was when her son attempted to fix the mess that was left behind during the air conditioner service. Frankly, she was appalled that anyone would lie like this to anyone. Why would someone do this just to get it even if she didn’t agree to their service? The warranty company said that she could call them after the second company came out, but she still had to wait a week for that to happen. It was August in Texas, and the company her son told her to use this time was in high demand.
It was too hot for Mary to stay in her home while the AC wasn’t working, so she ended up having to board her dog for a week while she stayed with her son. She would have preferred to bring her dog with her and miss her dearly, but her grandson was very allergic to pets, so she had no choice. Now she was out of her home and had lost money on boarding her dog until she could get someone out to her home.
Finally, the second company was able to come out for air conditioning service, and Mary’s son took the day off to come over and make sure that things were done correctly. This technician stated that it clearly was the compressor and mentioned that there was nothing wrong with any of the coils or the outdoor unit. He told Mary and her son that likely the other company wanted to convince her to replace the entire unit due to the high costs of dealing with a coil replacement. When she balked at it, they probably got frustrated and instantly retreated, attempting to cover their tracks.
The second HVAC company replaced her compressor and then tuned up her unit as part of their standard call. They also checked the connections that Mary told them the other company had left disheveled and made sure that everything was properly sealed before they left again. When Mary flipped on the AC and the home started to cool she was immediately relieved. It took four hours to fix a problem that had left her without AC for the past week due to the other company’s negligence.
Mary didn’t know what she could do about the situation, but she knew that she was angry and did not like being made a victim. She called the BBB and complained about the air conditioning service, and she left a review of her own about the company. It was not surprising to her to find that the internet was filled with bad reviews of the company. She just wished that she had taken a minute to read reviews because maybe she could have saved herself from dealing with these issues if she had.
From a Small Leak to Broken Parts
Libby and her husband Sam had a full house most days. Not only did they have four children, with one more due at the end of the fall, but they also had Libby’s 80-year-old mother living with them. Their lives were full and certainly busy, but Sam made time to think about air conditioning service at least once a year. That was why he was surprised when his AC stopped cooling down his home. At his last service, the technician had not said that anything looked that bad, but he figured he would call the company back and have them come out to check out the system. Clearly, something was going on if the home was not cooling down, and with a pregnant wife, four children, and his mother-in-law in the home, he did not want to get too far into the hot summer months to start dealing with AC problems.
It took about 24 hours for the air conditioning service to send someone out, and they promptly said that the problem was a lack of freon. Sam was surprised, if his Freon was low why hadn’t anyone mentioned it before? He questioned if there was a leak somewhere because how else would it get low so quickly after the last visit? The technician did not seem too concerned and said that sometimes these things just happen. Despite Sam’s persistence that something must have happened, the technician insisted that he just needed to get some new Freon.
Libby was pushing him to get the problem solved, so against his better judgment and what he thought he knew about AC systems, he went ahead and purchased the Freon recharge. It cost him $200 for three pounds of Freon and immediately, his AC turned back on. While he still wasn’t sure this was the right move, the AC was working again, so he put the matter out of his head and went on dealing with other things. With so many kids in the house, there were always a lot of moving pieces, and he didn’t have time to get stuck thinking about the AC system.
Unfortunately, this only lasted for two days because by Sunday afternoon the AC was once again blowing hot air out. Sam was angry because he knew there was more to the problem than just Freon. If he took the cage off of his outdoors until he was pretty sure, he would find that his money had basically leaked out onto the ground. He was not happy at all and attempted to get ahold of the AC service again, but after 16 phone calls, it was clear that they weren’t going to answer the phone. Even their emergency line did not work.
Monday, Libby kept calling until someone answered, and they said that they wouldn’t be able to come out until Wednesday. She called Sam, who told her that this time of year was probably the best they could do and go ahead and take the appointment. He would take a half-day and come home to deal with the issue. Libby wasn’t happy as she was terribly uncomfortable and she worried about the kids and her mom in the heat, but it was only two days, and they thought they could make it.
The technician who came out for the recall on Wednesday said that he wasn’t able to do anything because the lines were frozen. Libby asked how they could still be frozen this long after the AC stopped working, and he said that sometimes this could happen. Sam also had a few questions and wanted to know why no one had to troubleshoot the leak the first time before charging him for more Freon, that basically was wasted. The air conditioning service technician avoided their questions and kept redirecting them to think about a new unit.
While he didn’t investigate anything to look for a leak due to the “frozen line” excuse, he continued to say that they had a 3,000-square-foot home and only one receiver. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before the system broke down and he should think about updating the system. He suggested they not only replace this unit but consider installing a few more in their house.
Sam was flabbergasted at this point. Not only was this HVAC technician not doing anything to fix the actual problem they had right now (after it was their company’s fault that the problem wasn’t fixed the first time), but he wanted them to install a new unit and a larger one at that. It was clear to Sam that all this guy was after was money, but he was stuck with them for now because he wanted them to fix the problem so that he didn’t have to wait a week or two to get a new crew into his home.
Instead of entertaining the idea of a new unit, Sam simply stated that when he purchased the home, it only had one receiver and had been working fine until the Freon leak. He added that it passed inspection with no problem so there was no reason for anyone to think about upgrading their system. He just wanted it fixed and wanted to know when they would be able to come out and fix the problem if they would not fix it today due to the frozen lines. The technician wasn’t sure but said they could call and check with this boss.
This of course meant that Sam and Libby would spend the afternoon calling the air conditioning service company hoping that someone would answer the phone. They weren’t even sure if the company had a receptionist because it seemed like no one was ever there to answer their phone calls. They were slightly concerned that they were purposefully being ignored, although Sam reassured Libby that he didn’t think companies really did that (although he was also having second thoughts).
Finally, by the close of the business day, the owner of the business, Jeremy, called back and said that he would send a tech out tomorrow to see what was wrong. He said by then, they should be able to get a good look at the outdoor unit and really see what was happening. Sam was a bit indignant because he felt like that could have been done today, but he didn’t want to get put off any longer, so he took the appointment. He knew his workplace was not going to be like that so he had to take another day off, but he couldn’t leave the kids and his wife stranded for much longer without AC. The days were getting hotter, and it was soon going to get to unsafe levels if he didn’t get his AC fixed.
The air conditioning service technician that came out told Sam pretty quickly that the problem was the condenser was broken where the Freon was put in. They asked if he had touched it at all since the Freon was put in. At this point, Sam was incensed; at this point, the only person who had touched the condenser was the person who refilled the Freon, which meant that the company was the one that broke it. The technician said that he was not authorized and couldn’t speak to that, so Sam demanded that he talk to the owner of the company. He also noted that he had Ring cameras that recorded all movement, and it would be easy enough to prove that no one had touched the unit beside the technicians from the company.
About an hour later, the owner of the air conditioning service came by and pretended to be helpful and apologized for all of the recalls, but he eventually got indignant when told that they would have to replace the condenser because the damage was done by the crew. Sam was angry and said that he had to keep his family cool, and the owner told him that he didn’t care who was hot because everyone is hot in Texas during this time of the year, and didn’t have time to deal with this.
Now Sam was even more incensed and threatened to call the BBB and report his company for fraud. The owner stated that there are pieces missing from his AC so he couldn’t do anything about it if he wanted to. This was clearly the worst air conditioning service that Sam had ever dealt with, and it was clear that this company wasn’t going to do a thing to clean up their mess. He didn’t know what to do about the situation, but he knew that he had to think outside of this company.
Sam went in to talk to Libby, and they decided it was time to move on to another company and then deal with getting the first to pay for the damage they had done. Sam was confident he could sift through his camera footage to find proof that no one had been near the AC but technicians from the first company, but that wouldn’t help them get cool air back into their home anytime soon. He called around a bit too many different AC companies until he happened to get the ear of one company that recognized the name of the company that had messed up his system.
They said that they often got calls from homeowners who needed someone to clean up the mess that the first company had left. They also said that it was not uncommon for that company to take parts out or damage things on purpose in order to drive up the air conditioning service bills. Sam was even more dumbfounded at this point to find out that he was not the only one, and he was quite incensed because this had been such a mess, and with a pregnant wife, he just needed to get this fixed and get his stress levels down.
The owner of the second company took pity on him and said that they didn’t have a hole in their schedule, but if it was okay to come later in the day, around 6 pm he would send someone out to take a look so they could at least get the pieces ordered if repairs needed to be made. He couldn’t guarantee they could make any repairs that night, but they could at least see what had to have happened so they could find a spot in the schedule to make repairs.
Sam was incredibly grateful and told them to come out, and he would be happy to pay an emergency air conditioning service fee, as that seemed fair in this case. The technician came out promptly at 6 pm and told Sam that the condenser did look tampered with, but it could be repaired and did not need to be replaced, which was great news, but the bad news was that there were, in fact, parts missing that would have to be replaced. It would take about a week to two weeks for the parts to come in because it was hard to get parts right now, but as soon as they had them, they would come out to finish the repair.
Sam and Libby had no choice but to wait, but Sam did appreciate that this technician offered to go over what was going on with the AC with him. He showed him how the AC system is supposed to work, and then walked him through the pieces of the machinery and showed him exactly where parts should be and what key components were not properly in place or missing. Sam felt much more confident waiting on this company because he fully understood the issues, even if he didn’t like the situation.
It took about a week for the parts to come in, and true to their word, the company came out and made the repairs as soon as they got them. It ended up costing Sam and Libby about $1,600 to repair their entire AC unit, plus the money that they had already paid to the first company. Notably, the second company did not mention that their unit was too small or should be upgraded one time while completing the repair.
Sam attempted to call the first company back several times to tell them that he knew about the fraud and wanted them to do something about it but it was clear that no one from the company was going to return his phone call. He eventually gave up and decided to go talk to a lawyer instead. From his point of view, he was owed the money he spent on the air conditioning service that did not work, and that he should be compensated for what he had to pay the second company to fix up the mess they left behind.
The civil suit hadn’t happened yet, and Sam found out that it could take a long time before they saw any money, which only frustrated him even more since they had a baby on the way and a full house of expenses. However, they at least had AC thanks to the work of the second company.
Before filing the civil suit Sam went online to read more about the air conditioning service to see if anything like this had happened to others. After the second company noted they had heard bad stuff before, he felt there were probably a lot of people just like him. He was shocked to find that there were bad reviews all over the web about this company. It turned out that they regularly told customers they needed to upgrade their system or replace parts that had never shown any signs of problems before.
It seemed this company made most of its money out of conning people who didn’t know any better. Had he been worried about the size of his AC unit, the company easily would have sold him the next size up. He shuddered to think what would have happened if he had let them install a new unit – probably problems with the AC unit for the rest of his life. He had enough problems with them just working on repairs.
Sam was also not surprised to find that almost every single customer who worked with them mentioned that they had to have a recall. It seemed that the company did a practice out of never fixing the issue the first time or selling Freon that would just leak out again (as had happened to him). While it was nice to know he was not alone, Sam regretted not taking the time to read reviews of the air conditioning service in the first place.
Had he taken the time to read some of these reviews, he no doubt would have steered clear of them, which meant that he wouldn’t have ended up spending so much money on probably what was once a small repair. This was his wake-up call that he would never again just schedule an AC service with whoever was available. If he had a problem with his AC or needed a tuneup he was going to take the time to check out the company and make sure they were worth his money.
The good news is that the second company he worked with did have great reviews, something he made sure to check out. He figured when it came time for his tuneup he would just go with them this time around, and with any luck, the system would hold out the rest of the summer now, and he would not need to get any repairs again. He had learned his lesson the hard way about letting just any company work on his AC unit. The only thing he was grateful for was that he sorted out this mess before the baby was born. It was the one small blessing out of this entire mess.
Both Sam and Mary got into trouble because they blindly chose a company for their air conditioning service. Mary thought using a company that advertised a low price in a flyer would be safe, and Sam just went with whomever they had used in the past. Both situations led them into trouble that could have been prevented if they had just got online and researched the companies they chose to work with. Neither had great reputations and are mistakes that could have been avoided with ten minutes of internet research.
Sam is now involved in a lawsuit and hoping that the company he worked with is actually bonded and insured. Otherwise, he is not likely going to get much money back out of them. It is another thing that he never thought to check before he hired a company. Even though he can prove that the damages were caused by the company, if they don’t have insurance they can likely declare bankruptcy to get around ever paying him out. This was another lesson that he would soon learn the long way, depending on what the outcome of the civil suit was.
Don’t wait until you end up in a similar mess to learn a lesson about the HVAC company that you call out to your Texas house to help with AC repairs or annual tune-ups. Always do your research before even calling to see if they are available, and if you have any reasons to be suspicious, then follow your gut instinct and choose to decline service in lieu of finding a company that was a better fit. Had Sam done that back when he didn’t think that Freon shouldn’t be added then he might have avoided further damage to his unit.
Are you thinking about booking your annual tuneup but concerned now about who you can trust? One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas has years of experience working with clients and a great reputation because of our hard work and honest recommendations. Contact us today to learn more.
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