Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beware of Furnace Fraud

The Denver District Attorney has sent out a warning to watch out for furnace fraud. Here is some of what he has to say:

Fraudulent contractors and furnace salespersons often use scare tactics. They may insist that you must buy a new furnace immediately due to leaking as and the potential of a catastrophic explosion. They may tell you that the "heat exchanger" or "combustion chamber" is cracked or has a hole. Or they may simply say that your furnace is too small and should be replaced with a larger one. If a contractor says you need expensive work immediately, don't panic. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • All heating contractors are required to be licensed and to get a permit from the Building Department before doing any major work. Ask for verification of a license and the permit. To verify if a contractor is licensed in Denver call 720-865-2770 or go to www.denvergov.org/contractor_licensing
  • Check out all contractors with the Better Business Bureau, by calling (303)758-2100 and your city Building Department before inviting a serviceperson into your home for an estimate or service.
  • If you are told your furnace needs to be replaced, get a second opinion from a licensed contractor whom you have checked out with the BBB.
  • Remember that once the old furnace has been removed, proof of its original condition is impossible to verify, making it difficult to recover your losses or to prosecute for fraud.

RESIST if a salesperson gives you a high-pressured sales pitch, especially if you are solicited at your door or by phone by an unfamiliar contractor.

This is good advice. As a handyman I don’t repair or replace furnaces. I do know of some good companies who do though. If you need a referral, give me a call.


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