Chicago, IL – October 19, 2011 - The cool autumn weather has arrived and, for many people, now is the ideal time to have their furnace serviced or upgraded before the busy winter season starts. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns the public to be cautious about misleading heating contractors who may use scare tactics to convince homeowners to buy a new furnace or authorize expensive, but unneeded, repairs to their existing heating system.
Some heating contractors may make unsolicited phone calls offering inexpensive, even free, cleaning services only to show up with inadequate equipment and recommendations for expensive and unnecessary upgrades.
In the last 12 months, the BBB received 376 complaints against businesses in the heating and air conditioning industry.
“At this time of year we see increased advertising from heating contractors offering everything from duct cleaning to furnace inspections,” says Steve J. Bernas, BBB president & CEO. “While many furnace companies are reputable, competent and fair, there are fraudulent and unethical companies that may try to frighten consumers into unnecessary installations or repairs.”
Fraudulent contractors soliciting door-to-door may attempt to frighten consumers into purchasing a new heating system with warnings that their current system was leaking dangerous gases that could explode or poison those inside the house.
Before you choose a heating contractor, consider the following:
Start with the BBB. Find helpful referrals and information on companies by visiting the company’s Business Review at www.bbb.org
Get three estimates for the work. All bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used. Request a free quote at www.bbb.org from BBB Accredited Businesses at any time, seven days a week.
Compare more than just cost. Check the size and rated efficiency of the equipment each contractor recommends. Ask each contractor how they arrived at recommending a particular sized system. Check the warranty offered and make certain you understand it.
Hire heating contractors who:
· Are or employ certified gas fitters;
· Are bonded and insured for liability and property damage;
· Can provide you a copy of the gas permit authorizing the company to work on your heating system;
· Offer warranties that cover equipment, materials and labor;
· Offer maintenance and service after installation and after warranties have expired;
· Provide customer references.
For more information about hiring a heating contractor you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.