Auto Repair Bait And Switch Tactics

Air Conditioning Service:

Every spring they come out of the wood work. Air conditioning service specials. I usually see them priced from $20 to $40 and the bold print usually reads something like “A/C recharge $29.95” or “Air conditioner service special $24.95”. The fine print usually says something like “Freon extra” or “plus refrigerant”. First of all we need to understand why you may need your air conditioner serviced. Refrigerant or “Freon” is an odorless, colorless gas that is under high enough pressure to become liquid in your air conditioning system. It is mixed with special oil that is responsible for lubricating the compressor as the refrigerant circulates in the system. It works just like your home air conditioner or refrigerator by
removing heat from inside and dispersing it outside.

The Freon gas is constantly recirculated in the system and is not used up in the process. So where does the Freon go? Why do you hear about cars needing A/C recharges but not refrigerators or home air conditioners? The answer is the conditions under which a mobile air conditioner is asked to perform. Ambient temperatures from twenty below zero in winter to under hood temperatures topping three hundred degrees in the summer. Not to mention constant vibrations, bumps, pot holes and salt water baths. Corrosion, temperature extremes and physical stress cause leaks! Step one in every air conditioner service is to find and fix the leaks. Finding where an odorless, colorless gas went is not an easy task. It involves use of some very sophisticated electronic leak detection equipment and sometimes partial disassembly of the vehicle for access to components that may be leaking. Do you think they will do all of this for the advertised price? In most cases the advertised price won’t even cover a thorough leak detector test let alone a leak repair or recharge. And knowing what you know now, what are the chances you have a refrigerant leak if you are low on Freon? Of course the answer is that there is a 100 percent chance you have a leak. And if there is a 100 percent chance you will not get the special price as a final invoice then why advertise the special price?

What sense would it make to fill up an empty air conditioner with some very expensive Freon that you know must have a leak? Why advertise a service that sounds complete when you know that what you are really selling is just the first step in what will surely be a much longer more expensive process? Why not just be up front and honest about it instead of trying to bait people with a fictitious price then switch them to the more expensive job you knew they needed in the first place? This is perfect for those who thrive on confrontation but being open and honest is so much easier for the rest of us.