In recent weeks temperatures across the country have dropped far below freezing thanks to the polar vortex.  Having access to heat wasn’t just a matter of comfort — It can be the difference between life and death during severe winter weather.  Call For Action Director Karen Stiles and our partners at TMJ4 in Milwaukee have some tips on how to avoid getting ripped off when you need furnace repair.


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Here are some tips to help ensure a good experience getting your furnace repaired:

Only hire a repair person who you’ve taken time to vet — Make sure you’re researching them on a trusted platform.  Word of mouth endorsements from friends and family can be even better.

Favor local contractors, and make sure they are licensed, insured, and certified to work on your specific type of furnace.

Shop around.  Get multiple quotes and compare the price as well as the services being offered by competitors.  Make sure you’re getting a detailed explanation.  If contractors are vague about what they’re going to do, call someone else.

Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics.  If someone says you need to replace an expensive part, it may be legitimate, but it’s a red flag if they rush you or discourage you from getting a second opinion.

If possible, get a copy of your estimate in writing, and make sure you have written warranties as well.  Ask the contractor to leave the old parts.  To ensure your purchase, NEVER pay for a service in full until it is completed.  Pay with a credit card if you can, because it makes it easier to dispute charges if they do a bad job.

To submit your consumer complaint, use our online form.