As the summer comes to a close and cooler weather is upon us, many people start to think about getting their home’s heating and furnace ready for the winter. Unfortunately, it is also the time that HVAC scams ramp up as well.
Village Media's Content Studio sat down with Derek Jackson who is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Wardlaw Heating & Cooling to find out more about common HVAC scams and how consumers can keep from being roped into something fraudulent.
What kinds of industry scams have you heard about recently?
“The most common ones we have heard of are cold calls, email, or home visits where the customer is told that their system no longer meets code and it needs to be replaced right away. The scammers don’t offer payment options and force customers into long-term payment agreements.
There can be real reasons when a replacement or repair may be time sensitive, but in a legitimate case the equipment would be reported to the fuel supplier and the customer does not have to use the same contractor to rectify any issues.”
What are some tell-tale signs than an offer is too good to be true?
“Be wary when a company that you have never heard of is contacting you out of the blue. Canada has serious policies in place to prevent unsolicited emails and phone calls to homes. If you haven’t ever dealt with a company and they contact you directly, ask them how they received your information.
Scams may evolve over time, but the basics remain the same: scare the customer into a sale by telling them that their system is unsafe and then make them an offer too good to refuse. Watch out for companies that will not provide a written quote, terms of payments, and/or do not have a secure link website or provide their name or license number. Also be suspicious of pushy and time sensitive sales tactics. Customers should never feel as though they need to make any immediate decisions.”
There have been some instances in the news of legitimate companies being impersonated by scam artists. Has this ever happened to your company?
“We have actually had people impersonate Wardlaw Heating & Cooling. We have even had a hyperlocal situation very recently where a Facebook account was posting in local sales groups stating they worked for our company and were offering duct cleaning at discounted rates. The alarming part is we do not know the individual and cannot be certain if they did go to any homes while pretending to represent our company. Thankfully, many members of the community realized this didn’t add up and reported this to us.
We always recommend customers use licensed contractors. To be sure you are hiring a legitimate organization, only trust advertising and communications that come directly from them and their official pages. Although many of our team may share our posts or articles, they will always originate from our website, social media or verified news sources and advertising agencies. Any posts that come direct from an individual should be verified.”
What else can people do to avoid being taken advantage of?
“Your home comfort system is your most important appliance and often the most expensive. For these reasons, you want to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable and licensed contractor that you can trust. Ensure companies have a history of high-quality work, reputable employees, and licensed technicians.
We work to keep our customers safe and comfortable in their homes every day. Our team and our families want to be sure that our neighbours and friends are safe in every way and that includes understanding and avoiding fraud or scams. If something is too good to be true, it likely is. If customers have concerns or are unsure of any promotions or industry initiatives, we recommend they call our office to confirm.”
To double-check the legitimacy of an HVAC offer or to find out more about getting your system ready for winter, contact the helpful staff at Wardlaw Heating & Cooling by calling (705) 230-3148 or visiting their website. They can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.