Beware of Fake Furnace Fixers

October 23, 2011

Fall has settled over Chicagoland. Now is the time for many Chicago real estate owners to have their furnaces serviced or upgraded before the cold and busy winter season begins.

Unfortunately, the colder weather also brings out the vultures.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning homeowners to be wary of heating contractors who try to scare you into an expense.

“At this time of year we see increased advertising from heating contractors offering everything from duct cleaning to furnace inspections,” said 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.”

Over the last year, the Chicago BBB has received 376 complaints against businesses in the heating and air conditioning industry.

Those complaints ranged from some businesses trying to sell unnecessary repairs to others falsely claiming that the homeowner’s current system is leaking gas and needs to be replaced immediately.

Be especially cautious of companies that go door-to-door, and beware of heating contractors that make unsolicited phone calls offering inexpensive or even free services.

The BBB offers these tips for finding and hiring a heating contractor:

*Get three estimates for the work in writing.

*Check the warranty offered and make sure you understand it. It should cover equipment, materials and labor.

*Only hire heating contractors that are employ-certified gas fitters and who are bonded and insured.

*Get customer references, preferably of nearby homes that have used the provider you are considering.

For more information on hiring a heating contractor, or to find a BBB accredited business you can trust, visit bbb.org.

Categories: Economy, Education

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