Signs Your Contractor Is Just Scamming You

Posted on: August 3, 2015
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Plumbing

Many HVAC contractors hear terrible stories about their fellow service companies that are trying to swindle homeowners – especially this time of year. Some scams start with telemarketing solicitations claiming to offer free inspections because “we are in your neighborhood,” then they claim some component is bad, or a relatively new HVAC system needs replacing, or you have toxic mold. Then the price tag for that “free inspection” just keeps rising. But there are many others.

Homeowners should look for these signs that ANY contractor isn’t reputable:

  • Just going with the lowest price could cost you later. If you see an HVAC tune-up advertised special for $19, you’re probably dealing with someone that plans to lose money on the front end but make it up on unnecessary repairs. A reputable contractor may charge more for an inspection, but you’ll end up paying for the service you actually need. Paying for quality equipment and installation up front will save you money, time and stress in the end.
  • Reputable service contractors are prepared to show you in detail what they will charge for specific repairs and other services. They will either have a price book or digital pricing available and an itemized estimate of the total project for you to review.
  • Homeowners should be welcomed to be present whenever a contractor inspects their HVAC system or plumbing and they should show you exactly what needs to be repaired. If your service contractor doesn’t want you present during inspection and/or repair, he may be using substandard parts or making unnecessary repairs.
  • Your contractor should have visible TDLR registration, badge or company uniform. HVAC technicians in the state of Texas are required to register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). Reputable service contractors require employees to wear a badge and uniform with their name and the company name while on service calls.
  • If you can’t find evidence they have been in business for awhile, find another company. Most reputable companies have their own website with reviews or have reviews over several years on review sites (like Yelp). They should also be listed with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. If a company can’t provide evidence of multiple years of quality service by licensed professionals, they may not be your best choice. Safety and integrity should go hand in hand.

How to Find the Good Guys

There are a lot of very good reasons the government regulates HVAC and plumbing contractors. HVAC systems that aren’t installed or repaired properly are a safety hazard. Shoddy electrical work is a fire hazard. Improperly repaired furnace can leak carbon monoxide fumes. If the work isn’t done correctly the first time, your family could pay a big price. If you hire a fly-by-night contractor, they probably won’t be around to fix anything repaired or installed improperly. You’ll end up dishing out more cash to have a reputable, experienced, licensed HVAC contractor to fix it.

Homeowners should screen potential contractors by:

  • Use review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp.
  • Get recommendations for service contractors from the manufacturer of your HVAC equipment.
  • Get two or three estimates from different companies, the reputable ones should have similar pricing.

Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical is a full service residential contractor that has been serving the greater Houston area for over 50 years. Abacus is a member of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau of Houston. Abacus is licensed and insured and offers 24/7 emergency service. To learn more about Abacus Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, visit or call 713-766-3605. License Numbers: ALAN O'NEILL M-20628 | TACLB82488E | TECL 30557 

Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical services the greater DFW area including, but not limited to: Houston, Humble, Baytown, Bellaire, Conroe, Katy, Spring, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and more. Check out Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical reviews or see Abacus A+ BBB to confirm Abacus is a company you can trust.

You Can Count On Us

Call Today
For Service