It’s a cliché that rings true: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The total bill from companies that offer a “free service call with repair” is often higher than from companies that play it straight.
For the “Free Service Call” contractor, padding the bill is inevitable because of scenarios like this: What if the problem with your furnace is a tripped rest button caused by a windy day? (We’ve serviced furnaces with the exact problem many times over the years.)
If the contractor says the service call is free with repair, he’ll diagnose the problem for free, but will then charge you for pushing the button. So much for that free service call!
Read on to learn more about this shady industry practice and how you can avoid getting taken for a ride.
The Free Service Call Is A Scam—Here’s How It Works
You’re in your home on a cold winter day when you notice that your furnace has stopped working. You check the thermostat and it says the temperature in your home is 60 degrees—yikes! You need to get someone out to take a look at it right away so you start making some calls. The first contractor you speak to offers a “free service call with repair.” It sounded great at first, but now you’re not so sure. After doing some research, you realize that this “free service call” might be a scam. Here’s how it works:
The contractor comes out to your home and diagnoses the problem. If the issue is something simple, like a tripped breaker or a blown fuse, he’ll fix it on the spot and charge you for the repair. But if it’s something more complicated, he’ll give you an estimate for the repairs. Even though he didn’t find anything wrong with your furnace during his initial diagnosis, he’ll still charge you for the service call because he said it was free with repair. And since his diagnosis revealed that there is indeed something wrong with your furnace, you have to pay for the repair too. So much for that free service call!
In other words, contractors who offer free service calls are counting on finding some sort of problem during their visit so they can pad their bill. And even if they don’t find anything wrong, they still make money off of you because they charge for their time spent diagnosing the issue (even though they didn’t actually do anything). Don’t fall for this scam—it’s not worth it!
How To Avoid Getting Scammed With A Free Service Call
If a contractor offers a free service call with repair, politely decline and schedule an appointment with another company instead. It might cost you a few extra dollars upfront, but you’ll save money in the long run because you won’t be paying for unnecessary repairs or being charged for a “free” service call. In addition, be sure to do your research before hiring any contractor so you can be sure they’re reputable and won’t try to scam you. A little bit of effort upfront can save you a lot of money (and headaches) down the road.
Beware of contractors who offer “free service calls with a repair.” More often than not, these companies are trying to scam you by charging for unnecessary repairs or simply padding their bill. Do your research before hiring any contractor and always decline when they offer a free service call—it’s just not worth it!