Sting Team exposes a/c Techs ripping off consumers .

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http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/48080346/ns/today-today_rossen_reports /
Please dont cheat consumers . Be an honest a/c tech and feel good at the end of the day that you had integrity and honesty. It may be tempting, but in the long run its going to catch up with you .
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What nobody is telling these folks is that as a rule, there only needs to be *ONE* licensed person in the company, and that shopping around for the lowest service call price will get you what you pay for. I could spend hours relating horror stories of the crap I have found, and messes I have had to straighten out..... after they got screwed by the cheapest service call price. Unfortunately, in this neck of the woods(rural south Mississippi), there is no code enforcement or license requirements outside of the city limits.... that is not a good thing.

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On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 12:17:15 PM UTC-5, Steve wrote:

Steve, Im afraid that morality crosses over all types of people whether they are licensed , not licensed, trade school graduate or not , or how much money they have or dont ; it urks me when i see the HVAC Trade put on a worse level than auto repair shops and the honest HVAC Techs need to expose other fraudulent Techs and Owners .

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On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 12:17:15 PM UTC-5, Steve wrote:

Steve, Im afraid that morality crosses over all types of people whether they are licensed , not licensed, trade school graduate or not , or how much money they have or dont ; it urks me when i see the HVAC Trade put on a worse level than auto repair shops and the honest HVAC Techs need to expose other fraudulent Techs and Owners .
--------------------------
true that...
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wrote:

sting to effect corrections but the public doesn't need to see this. Instead of laughing over some guy squirming away in his van, get the police involved and arrest for fraud. Maybe the dishonest will think about the next opportunity that comes their way. Plastering this all over the news hurts the honest guy and there's plenty of honest techs out there. John
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On 7/10/2012 8:04 PM, snipped-for-privacy@rhosos.not wrote:

I agree... If such happens..Have the Perp locked up for fraud. Most big companies and many small companies have their skilled Techs Bonded. After all we do enter the private castle of the homeowner.
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snipped-for-privacy@rhosos.not wrote:

I absoutely disagree. It needs to be exposed. Obviously, many techs think they are "entitled" to whatever they can get.
The ratio of A/C techs who would rip you off because they can is so high that I think it merits more regulatory oversight.

I won't argue with that. Maybe you can help clean up your own industry? Standard pricing--at least a starting point, for various sorts of repairs would be a nice start. That's closer to how auto repair works.
By comparison, AC-repair has a lot of people who want to drive around town replacing broken $10 capacitors for $250-$300. I've met them! I've gotten estimates which tell me they don't want time consuming jobs, encouraging me to replace the whole system over a broken fan motor. Evidently they would prefer to go for the big money or the easy money. The more disclosure there is, the better it should be for consumers.

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wrote:

The techs are being pressured by their company owners to SELL, SELL, SELL. A lot of the techs get spiffs and commissions for what they sell, so they are motivated to sell stuff the customer may or may not need. To charge *only* the service call fee, is a losing proposition for the company..... The service call fee is not enough to cover the overhead, let alone the salary for the techs, office staff, or owners. My own truck is paid for, yet because of overhead costs, it costs $98 and change for me to start that truck, and thats before adding my time.

Some of us are running flat rate and do not charge "labor" as a line item. Its all built in to the repair cost. Over 19,000 HVAC techs/contractors go out of business every year because they didn't charge enough. Even when a tech works out of his home, the overhead costs are astronomical. Yellow page advertising alone can easily top $20,000 a year for a single display ad. Liability insurance, as well as workers comp and health insurance is another $5,000 or more, phones aren't free, nor are uniforms, or the insurance, service, maintenance, and repair of the service truck..... as well as a whole host of other costs and expenses. Its not unusual for a well stocked service truck to carry $15,000 - $20,000 in tools, equipment, and parts inventory. Remember, the tech is bringing his/her shop to your home in the form of a service truck. Its not the tech can say.... "Oh, your air conditioner is broke?, bring it by the shop and I will take a look at it."
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On 7/15/2012 9:36 AM, Steve wrote:

Back in the early 80's I was charging $45/hr and an immigrant customer complained that I charged more than his doctor. I asked how much and the answer was $38.00 for an office visit. I explained that his doctor would charge a lot more if he took his office with him to come service him. The concept was incomprehensible to the poor fellow. O_o
TDD
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wrote:

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Steve wrote:

I'm not sure of your point. Are you defending the $285 capacitor? I got an 80 foot (28 inch diameter) maple cut up and haulted away last week for about twice that, and they used a 60 foot bucket truck, and had 2 million dollars of general liability insurance--I called the insurer. As you know, tools are relatively cheap. It's time that goes for a premium in this country, in fact evidently many are charging as much for it as they can get away with.
What may make sense is for knowledgable people to diagnose problems and fof less-experienced people to follow behind them replacing parts. That may be a better model for the consumer. Assuming there is enough work to keep the knowledgable people busy, I don't see where anyone loses.
Bill
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wrote:

My point is that If you understand the business of running a business, you charge what you have to so that when you close out your books, you are able to show a profit. Granted $285 for a capacitor is a bit steep by itself.... the questions remain... did that include installation? did that also include the service call/diagnostic fee and sales tax?? For my company, the service call/diagnostic fee, plus the capacitor(installed), plus sales tax would be about $50 less. My company's business model is based on a very small 10% after taxes, net profit.

I carry a million dollars general liability insurance... thats part of the cost of doing business. HVAC tools, test instruments and refrigerant handling equipment is not cheap, not is the training, education or experience to not only understand what your doing, but why your doing it, and what effect it will have on the system as a whole. I have yet to see a guy in a bucket truck have to do 5 - 8 semester hours of continuing education and training every year to keep his skillset current.

If you want to have to pay twice as much in the form of 2 service calls (one for the diagnostic tech and one for the parts changer) plus the part and installation, you go right ahead. Its not the work load when there are temperature extremes, but also the lack of work load in the slow seasons.... so you will have twice as many people layed off in the slow seasons. Where will this benifit the consumers and the techs?? While your at it, consider that the initial problem of getting the system to run, can still have other problems that are not able to be dianosed until the system *IS* running..... so you want to pay an additional service call for the diagnostic tech to come back?? and the parts changer to come back?? so now your up to 4 service call fees plus parts and installation. All those service calls can get very spendy... is this what you really want?? Or..... do you want a single, highly trained technician, with a well stocked service truck to diagnose and effect repairs to the system the first time??

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Steve wrote:

I think I'd rather not hire a highly trained technician to solve simple problems. Even the dental offices don't use a d.d.s. to perform cleaning and take x-rays .
If it results in a call back occasionally, it's not such a big deal. I suspect even highly trained technicians get some call backs...albeit, perhaps a smaller percentage of them. I don't demand or expect perfection out of a household appliance, and no matter how highly trained someone is, they can't promise that anyway. Perhaps the highly trained technicians should wait in their offices until their expertise is required?
It is interesting that most technicians do not discount their rates based upon their credentials. They say or think, "Company X gets this amount to fix Y, and I deserve to get that too". I think that's closer to how it Really works. Being a highly trained tecnician yourself, you may not be aware of the copycats out there. I don't think any have volunteered their credentials with me--expect for the one who was the brother of a tech (who he conversed with by cell phone). He was the one who charged me $285 to fix an obviously split capacitor.
I wouldn't say that the state of the situation is just as portrayed in the article, but given the financial return that is possible, some evidentally have a hard time resisting. Even the old Sears company got themselves in hotwater due to a large amount of dishonesty found in the automotive department. Maybe we need more licensing in the industry so that dishonest people have more to lose? I think someone wrote that a company only needs to have one tech with a license. Is that true?

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wrote in message

Callbacks are bad... it costs the company money. Why don't you expect perfection out of a household appliance?? If you comfort system is properly sized, correctly installed, the refrigerant charge is correctly balanced, it should be almost dead quiet, maintain your comfort level within 1 degree, with minimum operating costs.

Not even close to how it works. The spread in prices is large. Folks are frequently calling to see who has the lowest service call price, and thats who they call. The guy comes out, he may or may not correct the original problem. and probably won't have the parts on the truck. After he has been out a half dozen times, charged them each time, hacks on the system some more, has cost the customer $1200 to $1500 and still hasn't corrected the original problem.... then they call me to straighten out the mess. I go out, put it back the way its supposed to be so it can be diagnosed. Correct the problems, balance the refrigerant charge, clean if needed, and my bill will run around $300 - $350. A competent, licensed, highly trained tech with a well stocked truck is not going to be the cheapest one in the book. Your going to get what you pay for.

You never said if that $285 was for the capacitor itself, or capacitor and installation, or service call/diagnostics, capacitor and installation..... did he have the correct capacitor on his truck? or did he have to go get one? .. and if he had to be walked through it by his brother on the cell phone, then obviously he was NOT a tech. By all outward appearances, you get ripped off. It appears that you do not have a relationship with an HVAC company that will take care of your system, keep it serviced and clean, and operating as it was designed to.

Flat rate pricing eliminates shooting numbers out of the sky based on what the "tech" thinks the customer can afford.

yes, this is true.
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Steve wrote:

Well, he replaced the obviously split capacitor and repaired the AC. But not, I think, in a "craftsman-like manner". By that I mean he removed the original steel clamp holding the capacitor in place, and just set the new capacitor on the bottom of the electrical panel/box. I am not familiar with the norms in the field, but it seems like he should have devised a new clamp of his own, even if it took a few minutes to do.
My dad told me, "There's no problem so small that you can't throw a lot of money at it". In my mind, this one resembles the $17 volume control (knob) for my radio from a GM dealership--I took care of the diagnosis, picking up the part, and installation myself! I don't know what it cost me, but through the years I acquired adequate training. OTOH, I know it cost me $285 for the capacitor, but I am prepared now, going forward, to attempt similar work myself. I already replaced my AC fan motor this summer. I've owned a house for just a year when the capacitor went bad, and I was completely ignorant about the system, but this may show that I'm learning. From my preceding paragraph you may see that my standards may be higher than those of many who would appear at my door to work on my system. That's a shame. Is it the consumers job or the industry's job to help improve the system? I think whoever side helps clean up the system first will get the longer end of the stick.
It appears that you do not have a relationship with an HVAC

This may be a (big) problem--as suggested by the article. I am definitely in favor of more sting operations--just to "test the water" so to speak.
Regards, Bill

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wrote in message

Just as long as the "sting" ops also show the good guys too.
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On 7/16/2012 8:00 PM, Steve wrote:

I saw one of those TV news sting operations where a tech from a service company came in and found that the only thing wrong was the shunt pulled from the power disconnect. He plugged it back in and told them "No Charge, call us when you have a real problem, here's my card." ^_^
TDD
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That's totally exceptional. I've have asked at least some money for gasoline and other expenses.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .

I saw one of those TV news sting operations where a tech from a service company came in and found that the only thing wrong was the shunt pulled from the power disconnect. He plugged it back in and told them "No Charge, call us when you have a real problem, here's my card." ^_^
TDD
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

It was probably a rerun.

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The original service call was from the 1970s, and used all the actors we used to love?
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Stormin Mormon wrote:

It was probably a rerun.
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