BBB: Air conditioning complaints are common

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The air conditioner is cool relief from the hot summer sun. But if it breaks, the heat is on to get it fixed.

The Better Business Bureau said it received thousands of complaints about air conditioning contractors in 2016. Complaints include overcharging, substandard repairs and poor customer service, according to the BBB.

Now, the agency is warning consumers to confirm that an HVAC contractor is licensed and insured and is an authorized dealer by the manufacturer.

“In 2016, the BBB received over 1 million inquiries about air conditioning contractors alone, and over 2,600 complaints regarding the industry,” Paula Fleming of the BBB said. “So it’s imperative that you do your due diligence. Make sure you know who’s entering your home and who you have coming to work.”

In addition, Fleming said it’s important to compare costs.

“If they’re in high demand, it’s their high demand season, you might be paying a lot more to get them out for that quick relief,” Fleming said. “Sometimes getting more than one price is helpful. And oftentimes, they can do it right over the phone depending on what your needs are.”

If you have to buy a new air conditioner, these are some of the questions you should ask to compare the performance of different brands and models:

  • What is the product’s cooling capacity?
  • What’s it’s repair history?
  • Does it fit the budget?
  • How energy efficient is it?

Susan Campbell ( is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.