The difference between a quote, a diagnostic and a maintenance
Confused about what you need when you call? It happens more than you know.
Here are a few tips to determine exactly what you are asking for when calling any A/C company.
- Maintenance: generally preventative maintenance is just that. It’s a service to maintain the health, efficiency and maximum performance of your A/C unit. Think of it as your annual check-up or physical with your primary care doctor. You don’t go to that appointment sick. It’s to see where you are at health-wise, to be sure all is up to snuff and make changes if necessary.
- Diagnostic: This is for when something is not working correctly. There is generally a fee for this regardless of what company you use. If a company says there is not a fee, you can be pretty sure they will just work it into the repair bill some other way once they got you hooked on the word “free.” Compare this to your sick visit to the doctor. Something is wrong and you need it diagnosed and recommendations on how to get better. (Note: we offer a free diagnostic with a repair for new customers. Why? Because we are confident that once we help you out the first time, you will find the VALUE you get with us and find that we are worth what you pay for.
- Quote: Most companies offer free quotes on complete unit installs. This is when you know it needs to be replaced because either it’s really ancient and is running inefficiently or died completely. This is NOT to determine IF it needs to be changed out. Why are these generally free? Because most people will get at least 3 quotes on such an important purchase. At the sake of repeating myself from other posts: Just be sure you are comparing apples to apples, please! This is like when you get quoted that root canal. After you decide it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to just do it yourself, you decide to call around and see what some other dentists are charging. (I would go with the one that includes the novocaine and laughing gas…but that’s me!)
- Second Opinions: Some companies will give free second opinions. We do if we feel strongly that what you are telling us over the phone sounds fishy and we have availability in your area. I would like to live in a world where people were all making an honest living but, unfortunately, there are scammers in every field. If something doesn’t seem right, there’s no harm in getting a second opinion. When you go to a doctor and they tell you their take on the treatment of your ailment and you don’t get the warm fuzzies about it….you get a second opinion. Sometimes the answer is still the same but, you feel confident about your choice now and that’s a good thing!
Be aware of SCAMS when doing your homework
Owning and operating a service company has many challenges. One of the biggest problems we face is gaining the trust of customers who have previously been scammed by another company. It is our job to prove to them, step by step, that we are the good guys. We systematically gain their trust and once we do-they are customers for life! It pains me to hear their stories and to help prevent as much of this as possible, decided to start a post with what to watch out for. Please note that there ARE many reputable companies out there. We are not looking to steal customers away from other great A/C companies. There is plenty of business to go around. Just be educated in who you use.
Scammer Alert #1:
This just happened to someone this past week so it’s fresh in my mind! And I’m furious about it. The customer has a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on parts. The “technician” who comes out tells this unknowing customer that his warranty is voided because he has not had annual maintenance. FALSE! While it is highly recommended to get annual maintenance on your A/C (similar to getting the oil changed in your car or tires rotated to increase the efficiency of your vehicle), it is NOT required to keep your manufacturer’s warranty on A/C equipment. That is a SCAM!
TIP: Be sure to keep a copy of your warranty in a file that is easily accessible so you can refer to it in the event of a service call. Educate yourself on what is or is not covered under that warranty.
Scammer Alert #2:
The same customer who was scammed in alert 1 also was scammed with the diagnosis/repair. Since this is sight unseen, we are unclear as to what the final prognosis was and what the other company actually did to get their A/C up and running. However, the proof is in the language used and the lack of details in the documentation.
This customer told me that the receipt said a “Compressor overhaul kit was installed”. I’ve been in this business for many years and I’ve never heard of such a part. When asked for clarification of what that was no one, including the service manager, could give a clear answer. They charged over $1000. They would not remove and refund their money even if he was willing to pay the labor portion. SCAM, SCAM, SCAM!
Tip 1: Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right- don’t approve the repair! Even if it means you eat a service call fee, it’s much cheaper than getting ripped off to the tune of 1000 bucks! Get a second opinion.
Tip 2: Don’t ask for advice on Facebook or Google!!!! It’s a rabbit hole I highly recommend you do not go down! Suddenly everyone is an expert on something they are not licensed to do. Call a professional! We have people call all the time to run something by us. Any reputable company will do the same.
Scammer Alert #3:
This one is just a friendly tip to keep the peace. No one likes being scammed. However, business bashing on social media is unacceptable. Please don’t do it! There are appropriate channels to go about reporting a business. Why not you may ask? The reason is just like any other situation with more than one party: You are only getting one side of the story. While it is definitely not something to take lightly, if you are upset or disappointed with any service, there is a right and wrong way to go about it.
- Contact the company and voice your complaint. Getting problems resolved in the house is always the best way to go. No company is perfect. Any reputable company will appreciate the feedback and go above and beyond to make it right. Customer satisfaction is always of the greatest importance. A happy customer will refer them to others!
- In the event you cannot get it resolved with the company in question, you may feel inclined to ask for referrals of a reputable company online. That is o.k. You can say what happened and ask for referrals to someone else. But it is a big NO NO to name the company on the post. Many Facebook pages will remove your post if you do this. Just don’t do it.
- Contact the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Contact the Licensing Board, Contact the technician’s mother- just kidding, but wouldn’t that be classic retribution? If you paid with a credit card, you can dispute the charges. An inquiry will be made, a case set up and it will be investigated.
Choke it up to a lesson learned. Educate yourself before hiring ANYONE for service. Licensing is public knowledge and can be looked up online. (In Florida: www.myfloridalicense.com and Sunbiz) Just because someone has a business card that says they are licensed and insured doesn’t mean they are. We have the social media at our fingertips and a quick search on Google can give you reviews. Keep in mind nobody’s perfect. Everyone has a bad review somewhere because no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make everyone happy. If most people were happy, I’d go with that!
Scammer Alert #4:
Shopping etiquette: When shopping for anything, be sure you are comparing similar services/products.
For example, I just bought an office chair. I did my research online and then went to the store with my research on my phone for easy access. Now, I did not expect the “mack daddy chair” to be the same price as the bargain “my back will kill me after sitting in this for more than one hour and it will probably not last longer than 6 months chair.”
Instead, I looked at similar designed chairs, read reviews, studied the features and after: decided on a chair that I felt was a QUALITY item AND fit my budget.
Then I checked to see if competitors had a better deal and looked for coupons/promotional deals, etc. that I may be able to apply. I walked into the store and purchased that chair for $275 (originally priced at $399). It came with a free 2-year product replacement plan. I felt good about that. Now some of you may say, “wow that’s expensive!” and others may say, “ Great deal!”
I asked the nice man if he would honor the online price, take my coupon and add my customer points card. I DID NOT ask the nice man to give me the chair for the price of the aforementioned crummy chair that did not even come close to the value of the chair I purchased. On the flip side, and here is the scammer part, be sure you ARE getting what you are paying for. Ask questions. Do research, Google it, read reviews, and when hiring a licensed service- ASK A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL!
We are always here to help you with your HVAC decisions! Contact us today if you have any questions (727) 386-2732