Don’t get burned by scammers
The Better Business Bureau is warning the public to be cautious about door-to-door heating contractors who may use misleading sales tactics to convince homeowners to buy a new furnace or hot-water tank.
In one recent scenario, a consumer was sold a hot-water tank by a company that stated it was a 2011 model when, in reality, the tank was from 2003.
This same contractor is operating around British Columbia, does not have proper safety licensing and is having residents issue cheques with no company-contact information for payments.
In the past, the BBB has received reports of con artists who tried to frighten consumers into purchases with warnings their heating system were leaking dangerous gases that could explode or poison those inside the home.
Before you choose a heating contractor, consider the following tips:
• Start with the BBB. You can find out helpful information by visiting the company’s business-review section online at mbc.bbb.org.
• Hire heating contractors who are licensed with the BC Safety Authority (call 1-866-566-7233, employ certified gas fitter; are bonded and insured for liability and property damage.
• Get at least two estimates for the work. All bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used.
• Compare more that just cost. Check the size and rated efficiency of the equipment each contractor recommends. Ask each contractor how they arrived at recommending a particular sized system. Check the warranty offered and make certain you understand it.
• Inspections every year are recommended but not mandatory. The BC Safety Authority states that it is recommended and not mandatory for a consumer to have their heating system inspected yearly. Be wary of any company that states it is call from your municipality, or stating that it is required by law to have an inspection.
• Know your rights and read your contract carefully. Consumer Protection BC regulates door-to-door sales contracts. Consumers should know that they have 10 days to cancel these types of contracts and that there are limits to the deposit required. For more information, contact the Consumer Protection BC at 1.888.564.9963 or go online here.