Payne 13 AC unit estimate

Hi,
I have an estimate from a local company (they're fair and reputable based on past work they've done for me) to replace my current AC unit (inside and outside). They've offered several options - I'm interested in the lower priced option - a Payne 13 system - the service guy tells me that the important components and technology is essentially the same as the more expensive Carrier Comfort 13 system they also quoted - and that the Payne brand is just Carrier's alternate (less expensive) brand.
Even though the local company has been fair AFAIK, for this kind of money I need to get a second opinion - thinking of getting a competitive quote.
The quote I have is for parts and labor to replace all of the inside and outside components, including a new disconnect and whip and thermostat - no ductwork - about $5,500 - he says that I could go from the 3 ton they've quoted to a 3 1\\2 ton for another $300 - is this quote in the ballpark for North Texas? THANKS!
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Additional information - the inside unit is in a utilities closet on the ground floor level - NOT in the attic - an updraft unit, I think it's called. Also, the other assumption is that the existing tubing will be OK for the new unit.
Also, I called another vendor I found from the Carrier site for a second over-the-phone opinion - gave them the same specifics - a Payne 13 unit, all new inside and outside including all parts and labor and a new disconnect, whip, and thermostat, etc. - their price was $4,250.
Thanks for any feedback!

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On Tue, 14 Jul 2009 11:05:42 -0500, "TNSTAAFL"

    Go for the low-bidder over the phone ! Fuck that guy who did good fair work for you before !

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Hey man, I'm just trying to get an idea of whether the guy who did work for me before was still playing fair with me - for $5K, I'm not taking it blindly without checking around - just to be sure - it's a lot of money. I'd certainly give the guy I've been using an opportunity to sharpen his pencil - but $1,250 is $1,250 - competition and free enterprise is what this country is all about - if two guys are in business, essentially offering the same product, and one guy is OK with less profit, that's OK with me, too.
Like buying a car - two different dealers selling the same car - if warranty work is guaranteed by the manufacturer, why pay one dealer $1,250 more than I can get it from another dealer for the same car ?

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3 ton systems replacements can run the full range from $4100 up to $10,000 and more (not including ductwork).
Payne is Carriers cheap builder grade junk... suitable for landlords and cheapskates.
Personally, I wouldn't have *any* Carrier products in my home....I have worked on too many of them.
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I ain't even gonna go there..... you done starched 'em when your mama come out from under the porch to bring your coke.
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