Action HVAC are a terrible company

Just thought I’d throw out a warning in case anyone in SLC was thinking about using Action for their AC work this year. TL:DR - Don’t…they’re terrible.

I had them come out on Tuesday to do a standard tuneup on my AC before it gets too hot. After spending about 15 minutes with it, the tech came back with, “Do you want the bad news, or the bad news?” He proceeded to give me a very detailed description about how both my AC and my furnace were in dire and urgent need of replacement. He claimed that the furnace was in such bad shape that I shouldn’t even turn it on on because there was a “significant chance of starting a fire”. He pointed out a few things on the furnace that I supposed looked legit (I know absolutely nothing about HVAC). he then told me that due to new EPA regulations about refrigerants, it would cost more to replace the coolant in my unit than it would be to replace it. Both units were about 15 years old, so I figured I just may have had some bad luck and it would unfortunately be time to replace.

Their sales guy showed up about a hour later to give me a quote for a replacement. His quote to replace both units…$13,000. I about puked and told him I’d have to get a couple other bids before I did anything. Got (predictably) a high pressure pitch about how he wasn’t sure he could offer me that same price tomorrow, how my house was in danger, etc…

Had another guy (neighbor referral) come out and look at it today. He said there’s no issues with the furnace at all, just needs a bit of tune-up work. $200, max. He did confirm the coolant issue with the AC, but said the unit would still probably be fine this year, if a bit less efficient. No urgency to replace, and definitely no concern about the “dire” danger that Action swore was inevitable. He offered me a great deal on an AC replacement.

I asked him what I should have expected to pay if I did have to replace both. He said replacing both furnace and AC with high quality, energy efficient units should run $8K, tops. This was before I mentioned Action’s bid.

I’m grateful that I’m in a position that I didn’t need an immediate replacement right away (i.e. middle of summer or winter), but am still pissed that Action basically told me my house was in danger unless I replaced both units at an absurd price right away…when nothing was actually wrong.

EDIT: Forgot to add that they tried the same scare tactics with my 78-year-old mom last year. Apparently the guy had her in tears because she was so worried that her house might burn down if she didn’t do a replacement immediately. This was also mid-February, so she had to do something right away.

Once is a sketchy sales guy. Twice is just a shiatty business practice.

I use Harvey Heating and Air because I know the people and they are good people.

4 Likes

I had the same experience. Watch out for them.

4 Likes

That’s a good warning. I think that is a problem whenever you deal with the companies with the standing armies: Whipple, Action, Same Day, Comfort Plus, etc. When our furnace went out 9 years ago the quotes from Same Day were double what we got from “our guy” who had done work for us on rental properties. They’ll do a diagnosis for $75 to $100, which isn’t unfair, but will want $300 to install a $30 part that you can learn how to replace from YouTube. (I did that with a faulty pressure switch on our furnace. A super easy job.) The techs are all taught to up-sell. “Well, everything’s in spec but the capacitance is at the lower end so it may be going out so that might make it harder to start the compressor and if you lose that than it will be thousands for a whole new unit.”

The hard part is if you really need something fast, like my wife did needing two water heaters in her 4plex and you have to do that in a hurry, they can get you. Those two 40 gallons water heaters were $6k twice the cost when we replaced two at our home five years ago using “our guy.”

3 Likes

Our water heater went out in September. With a wife and three kids in the house, that’s not exactly something I can wait for a few days while I collect multiple bids. I had Action come out, and they were able to get it done that same day. I asked the guy yesterday what he would have charged to do that same job, and he gave me a quote that was about half of what I paid Action.

In retrospect, their sales guy gave me much the same sales pitch (“this unit is defective to the point of being dangerous”). That sounded very dire at the time but now I’m pretty sure he was just full of it. I just needed it done quickly so I had them do it, but I’m guessing I could have paid way less had I been able to wait.

Lesson learned…Action sucks.

1 Like

So any recommendations other than Harvey? Six years and haven’t found “my guy/gal” yet. Salt Lake County.

Same with me. Furnace wasn’t firing up - told me that it was shutting down because it was detecting CO and that it was very dangerous. Wanted to replace the whole thing that very day and I actually agreed while gulping at the price - but it didn’t seem right, the unit wasn’t that old. In the meantime I called a guy I vaguely knew who lived around the corner who did HVAC installations and repair. He came up with his instruments - unscrewed the front panel, took out the flame detector, wiped it off with an alcohol wipe and the furnace fired right up.

He then showed me that there is a flame detector on all modern units that will detect if a flame fires up when it should, and if it doesn’t it shuts down the unit - to avoid pumping natural gas into your home. It gets dusty sometimes, and while you need to treat it gently, it is literally a 2 minute fix. He did some other tests to make sure everything was safe just to be sure.

Called Action immediately and told them to cancel the install. They threatened to charge me for the unit anyway (because the one they ‘luckily had in their warehouse’ they suddenly had to order) and I said, “Please do. I’d love for this whole interaction to make it into the public.”

I never saw a bill.

1 Like

We’ve had a lot of good interactions with Friendly. They once told us to go with a family friend because they couldn’t beat his price. They seem much more honest than most.

Several years ago I had a Groupon for an A/C tuneup. I don’t remember the company but the guy shows up and within 30 seconds tells me I need a whole new system. He didn’t even do the tune up I paid for. I thanked him and he left. My system lasted another 10 years with a bit of maintenance every other year.

I just had mine replaced through Costco. I went with them because I know they won’t have bad contractors do the work, plus they added a few years to the warranty.

I’ve had great luck with a father/son business in Davis County. I’ve felt like they were completely honest. The only reason I didn’t go with them when I bought a new system is I wanted the extra warranty that Costco provided.

Andrew Woods at Woods Plumbing has been great for us. He’s done work at both our rentals and our home. He’s busy, though, so you have to plan if possible.

1 Like

Most of these “tune up” specials are a Trojan horse. Companies lose money on a $49 inspection special. They literally don’t cover the cost of the Technician time or the trip cost. They HAVE to find something wrong or they lose money. You are basically paying money to have a salesman come out and give you a high pressure sales pitch.

3 Likes

Harris-Dudley are our plumbers. Our house has a boiler heating system (it’s an old house) and our boiler is old. It stopped working in the dead of winter. A new one would cost a fortune. Our Harris-Dudley guy worked on it and it’s now got another 10 years or so. Another company told us there was no hope and the whole thing needed replacement. How HVAC and plumbing contractors behave when you’re desperate tells you everything about them that you need to know.

Had Same experience with Action when our water heater acted up. Sent them packing and got a referral from a friend and got a tankless installed for such a good price It was absurd. Used to love Esco but fear they’ve gone the same way. Fortunately there are still some good businesses out there. You just won’t see them spending all your money on Billboards and sales teams…

UpFront were the guys we went with and we were very happy…and didn’t have to take out a new mortgage.

That’s a good point that I hadn’t really considered.

Funny thing is, they could have easily gotten some money out of me. I know nothing about HVAC, so if they had said “Your system is ok, but your flibbering enflooferator needs replacing”, I probably would have dropped up to around $500 without even thinking about it. Instead, they swing for the fences and tell me my house will burn down if I don’t spend $13k.

The end result is not only that they don’t get any $$ from me, but I am very active about telling anyone who will listen what a horrible company they are. They lost not only my business, but I will expend effort and energy ensuring others don’t use them as well.

A truly stellar word-of-mouth marketing tactic. :joy:

2 Likes

It’s weird how some of those places price their services and products. Years ago we had central air and a new furnace put in. I got 4 bids.

Bid 1 - $3,800
Bid 2 - $3,600
Bid 3 - $3,500
Bid 4 - $11,000!!!

The only difference between Bid 2 (the one I took) and Bid 4 was that Bid 2 was a Carrier and Bid 4 was a Trane. I don’t think there is $7,000 difference between the two models, but I could be wrong.

1 Like

When Same Day gave us our furnace quote of something like $6500 nine years ago, we flat out told them that we had a “guy” who we knew would give us a good price so they needed to do their best. It didn’t make a difference. When we told them they got beat by a factor of 2 for the exact same model Amana they tried the, “But you won’t have our service to back it up!” I said, “Sure I will. I just won’t be getting it from you. Oh, and are you telling me the unit you just offered to sell me isn’t reliable?” That pretty much ended it.

2 Likes