Beware of Air Conditioning Scams Coinciding with Excessive Heat Warning

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers and business owners to be on the lookout for air conditioning scams this weekend due to the excessive heat warning in effect from the National Weather Service until 7 p.m. Monday.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to high 90s Saturday through Monday, and the humidity could possibly bring the heat index to 105 during afternoon hours, according to the NWS.

Unscrupulous contractors often use scare tactics on homeowners and business owners with inoperable or poorly functioning air conditioners, according to the BBB. Some contractors will make unsolicited phone or door-to-door calls offering free services, and then will make recommendations for unnecessary repairs and upgrades.

The BBB has filed more than 200 complaints against heating and air conditioning companies in the last year in the area, it said. Another issue is scammers who pretend to be air conditioning experts.

“As in any other industry, air conditioning contractors are honest and fair, but there are some unethical contractors that will try to persuade customers to purchase unnecessary services,” Steve Bernas, president of the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois, said.

To avoid air conditioning contractor scams, the BBB is advising to research the company’s background and licensing, compare prices and service packages, review warranty coverage, never open the door to strangers or accept unsolicited offers to inspect air conditioning and never make any immediate payment using cash, a prepaid money card or wire transfer.

“Scammers impersonating air conditioning inspectors are looking to steal some cold cash, and in worst-case scenarios, gain entry to a victim’s home to steal additional property,” Bernas added.

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