West Sacramento, Calif. - The Better Business Bureau and Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) are working together to build marketplace trust and prevent HVAC fraud. Some Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning businesses have received a number of complaints that report high pressure sales tactics or misrepresentations which may result in unnecessary repairs or replacements. These practices create an unethical and unfair marketplace and may become even more prevalent. To ensure a trustworthy HVAC industry, the BBB holds businesses to BBB Standards of Trust, which helps businesses comply with local, state, and federal laws through voluntary self-regulation. BBB promotes voluntary self-regulation but does share information with the CSLB.
Some HVAC businesses take advantage of consumers through particular predatory practices by making false or misleading statements or having customers sign emergency waivers for their three day right to cancel. These practices violate the California Legal Remedies Act, which forbids misrepresentation of service, product, and advertising. In the case of a emergency, waivers for consumers in California are generally held as void and unenforceable.
BBB is taking steps to ensure that the HVAC industry self-regulates by following the BBB Standards of Trust and adhering to existing laws when dealing with customers. BBB reviews customer complaints, advertising, and may notify HVAC businesses of their concerns and engage businesses in an effort to resolve patterns of complaints and problematic practices. The alternative is more regulation and litigation in the marketplace to resolve these practices.
The BBB urges all HVAC businesses to promote voluntary self-regulation, to review California laws, and the BBB Standards of Trust. HVAC businesses that follow the BBB Standards of Trust should, in part:
Build Trust. Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace. Be properly licensed with the CSLB, be properly bonded, register local building permits, and provide periodic updates upon request of BBB.
Advertise Honestly. Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling. Follow federal, state/provincial and local advertising laws. Avoid misleading customers by creating the false impression of sponsorship or endorsement.
Tell the Truth. Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms. Make known all material facts in both written and verbal representations, remembering that misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring relevant facts.
Be Transparent. Clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy. Clearly disclose to customers: terms of any written contract, any guarantees or warranties, any restrictions or limitations imposed, total cost of the transaction, including tax, and other related charges.
Honor Promises. Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations. Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached. Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible.
Be Responsive. Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith. Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by BBB by resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying the BBB. Or you may provide the BBB with a response that addresses all of the issues raised by the complainant, including appropriate evidence and documents supporting the business’ position, and explaining why any relief sought by the complainant cannot or should not be granted.