WARNING Recent HVAC Scam Targeting Elderly
Be on the look out and warn your neighbors. Companies in Oregon and Washington have been cold calling HVAC Customers and selling false maintenance contracts and threatening their way into your home.
Recently HVAC customers in Washington and Oregon have been the victim of a scam involving solicitation cold calls which result in a threats based on servicing their furnace and/or cleaning their ductwork. This started in Oregon and is mainly targeted towards elderly customers and has branched into Washington in the last few months.
An example of this from Oregon Construction Contractors Board speaks of a customer, an elderly woman in her 80’s, that was cold-called and told her furnace maintenance was due. She did not recognize the name on the caller ID and told the caller “ABC Heating” is her furnace company. The caller then told the homeowner that they had taken over all of ABC Heating’s maintenance programs and that her furnace was due for inspection and cleaning. They told her the service charge would be $40 and told her the serviceman would be there the next day between 1 PM and 3PM. The homeowner agreed.
The next day, the serviceman arrived at 3PM. He wore khaki pants and a white polo shirt. He was cordial and appeared professional driving an unmarked white cargo van. The homeowner allowed him inside and showed him to the furnace. He spent about an hour using a shop-vac to clean around the furnace and the heat registers inside the home. When he was finished, he presented the homeowner with a bill for over $900. When she balked at the cost, the man intimidated her and said that he would not leave until she paid him for the work. He even threatened to call police. She wrote him a check for the full amount. He then left and before she could cancel the check, it had been cashed.
Angry, the homeowner called her heating company to complain. It was then she learned it was a scam and had nothing to do with them. Since then, CCB-SIU has received complaints from over 18 1icensed HVAC companies and over 45 homeowners. ALL the complainants have been over 65 with a median age of 78. Law enforcement from Benton, Washington and Multnomah
Counties have forwarded their cases to SIU as well.
Here at Evergreen we have been receiving calls on a regular basis from customers just like this saying they were contacted by someone from “our company” or “on behalf of our company” to schedule their maintenance and are confused by pricing and things just don’t seem right.
In addition, a recent installation customer, also a couple in their 70’s, were contacted immediately after our first meeting and told they would see an installer in 2 days at their home and they should have payment available and ready. The company claimed to be Evergreen. I assured our customer that we hadn’t even ordered any equipment and there are only 2 people in our office who would even have her contact information at this time. She was astute enough to tell the company, who contacted her 3 times from different phone numbers, she would call the police if someone showed up at her house.
Please be aware that there are only two people in our office who will contact you regarding an upcoming maintenance. If you are an existing customer, the maintenances are annual so if someone calls you 3 months after installation . . . it probably isn’t from us. If you get a phone call from a company and you feel suspicious that it may not be Evergreen State Heat & AC, give us a call at our office and we can confirm whether a call was made to you from our office.
All of our white vans are marked and our technicians will have paperwork and uniforms with our logo. We do not do business with, share, or partner with any other companies doing maintenance or service work “for” us or in our name. We also use the duct cleaning services of only one company and they do not have access to our customer records or contact information.
If you have been a victim of this or a similar scam please call the police and file a report.
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Geoffrey B. of Marysville, WA