AC repair leaves Apex homeowner with questions

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Anne Johnson's air conditioner was on the fritz. "It was 90 percent warm and then cool air would come out," she said. (WTVD)

Anne Johnson's air conditioner was on the fritz.

"It was 90 percent warm and then cool air would come out," she said.

It was in the heat of summer, so she wanted to get it fixed right away. She googled HVAC companies in her area and says she found Comfort Services Heating & Cooling in Garner.

A technician with the company came out and diagnosed the problem. Anne says he told her that the voltage absorption system was broken. Anne said she had never heard of this part before and asked for some clarification as to what the part was. Anne says the technician did show her some wires where the part was located. Anne also says she asked, "What about my Freon, did you check my levels?" She says the technician said, " I can't check your levels because the part is broken." Anne authorized the repair and paid $374.00 for the replacement of the voltage absorption system. The technician also sold Anne on a platinum energy savings plan agreement, which cost an additional $249. He was able to get her air conditioning working, but later Anne had concerns about the $704 bill she had just paid.

"I had a lot of questions, mainly the huge chunk of money I had just paid," she recalled.

Concerned over the large bill and curious to learn more about a voltage absorption system Anne says she reached out to seven different HVAC companies to see if they could provide an explanation as to what a voltage absorption system was. She says all seven companies said they have never heard of a voltage absorption system, but based off of the description of her problem, they said it could have been her capacitor that had been replaced.

Armed with that information, Anne called Comfort Services Heating & Cooling to get clarification on what she had paid for. She says the representative she talked with insisted that it was a voltage absorption system and not a capacitor that was replaced.

Confused and frustrated, Anne called me. I also spoke with several HVAC professionals who confirmed that they had never heard of a part called the voltage absorption system. I didn't stop there, I also reached out to the manufacturer of Anne's HVAC unit, Goodman. A representative said that there is no such part for Anne's Goodman unit. I reached out to Comfort Services Heating & Cooling and a representative told me Anne was not improperly charged that his company uses what's known as a 'Flat Rate System' and the repair is classified as a voltage absorption system. He said it's not a part, the part that was replaced was a capacitor. He said there was miscommunication between Anne and his office staff when Anne originally called for clarification. He said there was no intention of misleading customers. He also reached out to Anne right away.

"This would have never happened without getting the Troubleshooter involved," Ann said.

Anne and the representative talked and he even came out to Anne's house to show her the capacitor that was replaced. He also wanted to make sure she was 100 percent satisfied. They came to an agreement and Anne was refunded $504.33. She no longer has the platinum energy savings agreement, and her unit is working properly. Anne says she's ecstatic with the outcome.

The best advice if you're having HVAC repairs done is to ask and get clarification on exactly what work is being proposed. If you have questions, ask before you authorize the repairs. Also, get a second opinion if you're not comfortable with the repair options. Also, ask to see what part is being replaced, and ask for the broken part after the new part is installed.
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hometroubleshooterApexWake County
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