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If you don’t know much about heating and cooling, it’s important to know the difference between reputable heating and ventilating contractors and disreputable ones. Most contractors are reputable, but there are also those that would cheat you. Below are six tactics that bad contractors commonly employ to get over on their customers.

1. Soliciting Customers Door-to-Door

A heating and cooling company with a good reputation doesn’t need to solicit customers door-to-door. Contractors who use this scheme are usually employ it in early autumn before it gets cold and in mid spring before it gets hot. If you tell them your equipment is by American Standard heating, they’ll conveniently specialize in American Standard heating, and if you let them inspect your equipment, they’ll always find a problem, even if they have to create it.

2. Soliciting Customers Through Cold Calling

A contractor that has a good reputation is too busy taking service calls to make cold calls. Unscrupulous contractors use this tactic for the same reason they door-to-door solicit: to get a look at your furnace or AC unit and prose a repair or replacement whether you need it or not.

3. Using Materials from Previous Jobs for Air Conditioning and Furnace Repair

When a contractor uses materials from a previous job, you may not get short changed on parts quality, but you will pay for parts that were never ordered. To keep a contractor honest, tell them upfront that you’ll need a receipt from the supplier for all materials and parts used in your project. If they balk, it’s best to find a contractor that will provide you with receipts.

4. Demanding up Front Payments or Strictly Cash Payments

When new homeowners have their first heating and cooling project, rarely are they familiar with how heating and cooling contractors handle payment. Most well established companies ask for payment upon project completion, with the possible exception of money for materials. If a contractor asks you for payment upfront, it could be because it isn’t well established and doesn’t have a large budget. But it could also be because it plans on skipping town with your loot. Best to go with contractor that accepts payment after the job is done.

5. Having Customers Pull Permits

A contractor that asks you to pull the permits for your project is one of two things: extremely time constrained or extremely lazy. Asking a customer to pull a permit is similar to asking them to buy project materials; to respectable contractors, such things would be anathema. Ultimately, a contractor that asks you to pull a permit doesn’t care about the impression they make, and that’s not the kind of entity you want handling something as important as your heating and cooling.

6. Steering Customers Toward a Particular Lender

If you need to secure a loan for a furnace repair or replacement, make sure that you choose the loan on your own terms. After all, you’ll be the one paying on it. Steering customers toward a particular lender doesn’t automatically signal chicanery, but it’s always unprofessional.