Did I really need freeon?

amaretto2November 16, 2011

Hello, all.

It's been a while since my last post. I had some trouble with my previous account (amaretto) since I changed email addresses and decided to just register a new one.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a call to an Air Conditioning service to inspect my vents and do maintenance work on my AC. $3000 later, my AC is working fine, but... no, I didn't have both units replaced, so, if you're scratching your heads and thinking that charge sounds a bit excessive, you're probably right.

When they came to service my AC, the charges immediately began to rake up. One of which was the addition of freon.

This came across to me as odd, since the repairman had specifically told me that I did not have a leak (and that because of that I would be able to afford other repairs... but that's another story).

I consulted a technician who told me that if the AC did not have a leak, which would be clearly indicated by ice formations, then I did not need freon because ACs were sealed units.

Can anyone verify this?


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Whereas I can't speak to the did you really need freon or not, because you could have. But freon is not like gas in your car. If you don't have a leak and nobody let it out then you still have it all. Freon only changes states in your system(Liquid,Gas) and doesn't use up.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:15PM
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There are leaks and there are other kinds of leaks. You can have leaks that are easy to fix and small, leaks that are easy to fix and big, leaks that are hard to fix and small, and leaks that are hard to fix and big. Your repair or replacement decisions depend on what kind of leak you have. If they are easy to fix you fix them. If small and hard to fix, you might just add refrigerant and limp through another couple of years. If hard to fix and big, you have to think about the relative cost of replacement with new equipment. I think that $3000 would put you in the last category unless your equipment is very young.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:03PM
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what other charges & work?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 10:34AM
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They went to town with me

$450 for a UV light (which really costs $150)
$250 for dryer duct cleaning, which they actually charge $89 for
$450 for the freon and the service call, and repair a leak, which the repairman said didn't exist
$200 for the blower cleaning
$300 for the condenser cleaning
$200 for a new contactor (which I was later advised the AC would never start without, so the repaid was unnecessary)
$250 for a capacitor (which I was later advised the AC would never start without, so the repaid was unnecessary)

The list goes on an on...

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 8:27AM
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no one can say if you really needed freon, as no one
saw the readings or testing.
same for replacment of parts.

I'd be ashamed to charge that much to clean blower and condenser.

does the unit work now? how old is the unit?
was any work done on the duct system?
what did the list that goes on include to
reach a $3000 price?

have you paid this in full?
were you aware prior to agreeing to the service
that this would be the cost?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:32AM
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They used a vacuum on the ducts and charged me $125 for some chemicals that I never saw them apply, and $150 for something else. I don't have the invoice at hand.

I agreed to roughly $2000 of the charges up-front, without knowing they were already excessive, the charges for the dryer duct ($250) and the freon + leak repair + service call ($450), and the aforementioned charge for $150 (which should have been part of the service call), are currently in dispute with the credit card, they add up to $850.

Regarding the $250 for the dryer duct, I told the technician that the way the charges were mounting up, I could not afford it anymore. He patted me on the back and said they were going to take care of it for me.

As for the freon and leak repair, at the time he pointed out I needed a contactor and capacitor ($200 + $250), that I did not have a leak and would probably want to consider replacing them. Not knowing any better, I accepted, but after consulting with 3 independent technicians, I was advised that if these needed repair, the AC would not have been working (would not be able to start).

Ultimately, when I was handed the bill, I challenged these charges ($250 + $450) and the technician laughed, said I had misunderstood, and tossed the bill back at me, so I decided I'd resort to other means of challenging the charge.

The irony is, when I called their office, it occurred to me to request a quote for the dryer duct cleaning. The customer service rep said they charged $89 for a single story home. When I asked then why I had been charged $250, the customer service rep began to stutter and said she'd have to review my charges when she received the invoice. That's when I really knew to what extent I had been taken advantage of.

As for the other excessive charges, I couldn't dispute them because they were agreed to before hand, but I did get my revenge by posting warnings about them on every available "rip off" site around and reporting them to the BBB... they've received 30 reports this year alone on the BBB, so that itself is a good indication of the kind of business they run. I just wish I hadn't been in such a rush and had taken my time to research prior to calling them.

My AC is working now, just as it did when I called them. I doubt very much that the vacuuming of the ducts did very much to clean them. All I can do now is warn people not to use this service again.

I'll post a detailed list of the charges once I have the invoice at hand.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:25PM
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