A/C service charge scam
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- We all know air conditioning is a must have in Las Vegas. And there's nothing worse than when you're air goes out. But be careful the next time you call an A/C service company. You may end up paying for something you shouldn't.
"How many other people have they ripped off? I mean it's just bad," says Dallas Sisolak.
She's a little hot under the collar. And it's not just because her air conditioning went out. It was last month when a local service company was called to her home.
"He checked it, and said the compressor was gone, and he had to replace it," says Dallas.
The repairman came back the next day with a new compressor. But after he was done, along with the regular bill, Dallas got an extra $175 charge.
"He has this invoice. I say what's this for? He said, EPA fee. I have to dispose of your compressor," says Dallas.
An A/C unit compressor does exactly what it sounds like. It compresses refrigerant in order to cool the air. Dallas says the repairman claimed the Environmental Protection Agency charges the fee to properly dispose of refrigerant left in the compressor. So Dallas handed over a check, but started doing some research after the repairman left.
"I started getting online and checked with the EPA. That's when I got really mad and said I'm calling Channel 13," says Dallas.
The reason she was mad is because the fee doesn't exist. The EPA tells Contact 13 they do not require a fee, or a company to charge a fee, for disposal of any air conditioner appliance.
"So to claim it's an EPA fee or the EPA mandating they some how dispose of that in some sort of prescribed manner, that's where I have a problem," says Blake Ballard.
He's been in the A/C business for 30 years and is a former President of the Southern Nevada Air Conditioning Refrigeration Service Contractors Association. Blake says there's nothing hazardous about an old compressor.
"When a compressor has to be changed, we have to remove the refrigerant from the system. We have to follow the EPA guidelines as we do that," says Blake.
He says not only is there no disposal fee, but a junkyard will actually pay to take a compressor off your hands.
"The other parts that are inside the unit. The sheet metal, A-C coils, those are copper, aluminum, and steel. And that all has salvage value," says Blake.
The good news is, Dallas didn't end up paying this fee. She actually canceled the check she gave the A/C company and they've never contacted her about collecting that money. Now Dallas wants to make sure no one else pays for this.
"Don't do it. Question them. This is not right," says Dallas.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: The Nevada State Contractors Board says it investigates complaints against air conditioning companies. And in cases like this the board says this EPA fee is considered an "unfair business practice".
And don't forget we've got your back Las Vegas. If you feel a company isn't treating you fairly let us know. Shoot an email to email@example.com. Be sure to include your phone number so we can get a hold of you. For Contact 13 I'm Tricia Kean.