Carmel homeowner warns of furnace repair scams

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HAMILTON COUNTY – A central Indiana homeowner is warning others to beware of furnace repair companies trying to scam you into spending thousands of dollars on repairs or a new unit.

Carmel resident Jim Miller said he wanted to make sure his furnace was ready for the winter so he called up a furnace company to check it out. The contractor gave him some bad news.

"It had a hole in it which was going to leak carbon monoxide which would kill us eventually," said Miller.

The cost of repairing or replacing the unit was in the thousands of dollars. Miller decided to get a second opinion.

"He came out and looked at it; couldn't find a single thing wrong," he said.

Miller decided to call the original company back to find out if he could get more details about the problem they found. He said the serviceman showed him a suspicious photo on his iPhone claiming that it was taken from inside his furnace.

"It was a total scam. 'There's nothing wrong with this unit,'” he said. “There are no holes that are going to kill us with carbon monoxide poisoning."

Even more concerning, Miller said his neighbor recently went through a similar scam situation.

"The same story had been told to her. Well she had had two more service people come out to verify and there was nothing wrong with her furnace."

"It is a very popular scam that's used out there this time of year," said Tim Maniscalo, President of the Better Business Bureau in Indianapolis. “They can confuse you, they can scare you, they can really make it seem like something is terribly wrong with the unit and that's not always necessarily the case."

He advised all consumers to check out a company’s BBB rating first, then ask for proof of the problems they find, and always get a second opinion before spending any money.

Miller is glad he didn’t get scammed, but he’s not happy with the experience.

"If you do things honorably, you'll do well. And when you're dishonorable, the karma will catch ya. At least I hope it will."