One of the unasked questions a customer poses the moment I walk into the door is, "are they going to try to rip me off?" One of the first unasked questions I pose when I walk into a customer's home is, "are they going to let me do my job?" You see, I can come in, change the offending part, correct the offending condition, collect my fee and leave the customer's home with a "thank you." If the equipment runs through the season without a repair, wonderful. If not, that customer isn't going to be a happy camper.
If a technician is doing his or her job, they're going to ask you more than a few questions and engage you in the process. Even if the cause of the malfunction is Captain Obvious, that technician should also bring you a list of recommendations and if your furnace or air conditioner is over 10 years old, they're going to give you the option to replace it on a cost benefit basis. Unless you have stock in a utility company, it would be a good thing to hear the tech out on. Unfortunately, few customers will heed the advice and end up paying more money on a junker and utility overpayments.
The truth is, that some companies are ripping you off. It's because you're either paying more in utilities, more in parts, or you haven't maintained a perfectly serviceable system and paying more to run it as a result. Ignorance isn't bliss when it comes to maintaining a home. If you hire a doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional and don't heed their advice, it's your health, legal status, or finances that will suffer. This is the same thing for a home service professional. If you choose to ignore something we say, please don't blame us if your furnace quits in the dead of winter, or other calamity arises. I had a customer we've warned repeatedly about a water heater leaking, and it finally let go, soaking the basement and a lot of stuff with it. On every call where a customer has a one or two inch filter, I advise them to change them monthly. Yesterday, I had one ticked off customer expecting a warranty call and all that was wrong was a clogged filter. As of this writing, I don't have letters after my name. I don't make six figures a year, nor drive a BMW or wear a suit. My hands are calloused, scarred and arthritic, I wear a uniform and drive a van. My personal car is ten years old, but my job and those like me are no less important than those mentioned. Off my soapbox for now. Love and God Bless!