Investigative reporter Jeff Rossen and his team set up hidden cameras during a heat wave. They rented a house in New Jersey and had three certified A/C experts inspect they system. It was in excellent condition. Then an A/C expert set up a common, easy-to-fix problem: a simple broken wire that shuts the unit down. He said he would charge less than $200 to fix it.
Out of six repairmen who came out to service the air conditioning system, every one overcharged for repairs. The most outrageous of them all tried to charge $950 and included a fee for a part that didn’t even exist in the unit. The repairman was fired by his employer.
Of course, there are honest A/C service companies, but to try to avoid being duped, people should line up a company before there’s an emergency, Rossen advised viewers.
Here’s a link from the Better Business Bureau on tips for finding a good A/C contractor.
The BBB also has a free service that allows you to request a quote, proposal or other information from a business that meets BBB’s standards. To learn more about the service, click here.
This week’s Color of Money Question: What’s your worst repair horror story? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “It’s a hot mess” in the subject line, and include your full name, city and state.
Join me today, July 12, for a live chat
Let’s talk money today. Join me at noon ET for a live online discussion. My guest will be John D. Spooner, author of “No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Letters to My Grandchildren.”
Be sure to send your questions in early or read the archive later.
Read my review of Spooner’s book.
Credit card vacation perks
When you pack for your next vacation you might want to include your credit card agreement. Actually, you might want to look at it carefully before you leave because you may find some benefits that could save you money during your trip, reported USA Today personal finance columnist Sandra Block.
Here are a few savings to look for:
-- Baggage fees. More credit cards will cover the cost of one checked bag each way, and with some premium cards your traveling buddy’s bags may be covered, too, says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com.
-- Enjoy the local entertainment for free. Block writes that cards such as Bank of America’s Museums On Us program offers free admission to more than 150 museums on the first full weekend of every month. Other cards offer discounts or preferred seats for Broadway shows, theme parks and sporting events.