Buyer Beware

We've all heard and many of us have said they don't make them like they used to. For the heating and air conditioning industry we can say "Thank Goodness!" they don't. Air conditioning, heat pumps and furnaces are more efficient and more reliable today than any other previous time in history. Not only are systems more reliable but they have improved the technologies to such a high reliability that most last a lifetime. Lifetime expectancies have  increased in all areas. Equipment warranties have increased as well. What is the Achilles heel has been the poor performance of the professionals in our industry. While equipment has improved in quality and reliability the opposite has occurred in many of the installers and contractor professionals. Copeland who manufacturers the popular efficient scroll compressor used by all major HVAC manufacturers reports over 30% of compressors returned under warranty have absolutely no defects. And says Copeland the numbers keep rising. Manufacturers of electronics including variable speed motors manufactured by General Electric report that over 55% of the motors returned have absolutely no defects. Other electronics manufacturers report no defect warranty returns as high as 85%. This is not only alarming but ridiculous. How can an industry of professionals report any concerns with the quality of manufacturers products when they can't even diagnose simple defects correctly many of which were caused by them? 98% of all real warranty problems are related to improper sizing and installations. What is going on is the highest level of incompetence, education and poorest practices in the HVAC industry than ever. Homeowners need to seriously pay attention to what is happening when they have a new system installed or their existing system requires service. How many parts are replaced needlessly can't be detected outside of warranties. But it can be safely assumed that if over 50% of parts replaced under warranty aren't defective and another 45% failed due to poor installations it's certain many more parts are unnecessarily replaced after warranties expire. Next time you hear a contractor bashing any manufacturer ask them about all the problems they create in their own backyard. It's difficult to accept but easy to understand contractors bashing manufacturers as another attempt to mask their own incompetence. It's that same incompetence that causes many of the parts to be wrongly diagnosed and replaced without the technician even being aware he's the source of the problem. Parts are misdiagnosed most times out of ignorance rather than intentional deceit. The best medicine to this problem is to protect yourself through education. The more you know the less likely you will be a victim to these problems.

Selecting a new ultra efficiency air conditioning/heating system requires a significant financial investment. The seller is the most important key to having a successful installation. The technical assistance, support and quality of that support determines whether your project is successful. In our 34 years of experience we have learned what works well and assists homeowners to give them the confidence and knowledge necessary for a successful installation. We learn continually and constantly update this information to you. We have heard from many homeowners that they wish they had found DESCO Energy and SEER in the beginning, as they have had to deal with unanswered questions, misinformation or a disconnected phone line from an online seller no longer in business or a seller who was more interested in selling equipment but had no expertise in assisting them through the installation process. One homeowner who was sold an oversized system and later discovered the seller had no training or affiliation with the manufacturer. Don't let this happen to you.

We are the ONLY online seller providing a legitimate method for homeowners to properly size or select the system that's best for them. You won't find anything similar to SEER Solution for Energy Efficient Results providing guidelines and requirements and technical assistance as we do at DESCO Energy. All this is a result of 34 years experience assisting homeowners like you from A to Z for a complete installation.

Online sellers are mostly contractors who are part of the epidemic problem of oversizing and improper installations, or one man shows working as fronts for independent wholesalers working out of their homes. It is for these reasons that HVAC manufacturers do not provide warranty or technical support for their online sales. The average life span of these online sellers is less than contractors in the HVAC industry and most have only 2 to 5 years in business, no certified training and no financial commitment. Over 98% of these online sellers have no affiliation with the manufacturer of the products they represent either as a dealer or distributor. Most have no required distribution state license or even a simple EPA Environmental Protection License or a state or local license to sell, install or service HVAC equipment in the areas where they come from.

SEER Solutions for Energy Efficient Results strongly recommends you check out any online seller of HVAC equipment to verify their status as a legitimate company. First go to the manufacturer's web site and see if they are listed as any type of dealer or distributor. This will eliminate 98% of online sellers. Check their status to see if they provide any online protection to you as a consumer from the Better Business Bureau online and also at Dun and Bradstreet which lists all legitimate businesses and their financial health and existence.

Any legitimate business is proud of their location and wants their potential customers to know their location and encourage local pick ups. If you can't find a business location online or the seller doesn't permit local pick ups then you should seriously consider the legitimacy of the seller. If you want long term technical and warranty support you'll want to know the seller has made a serious financial commitment into warehouses and offices and inventory. A strong financial commitment gives you the confidence to know the seller has been in business for a serious length of time and will be there for you when you need warranty support years from now. Remember, when making an HVAC do it yourself project you are going to be dependent on that seller for technical and warranty support for the life of the warranty. Similar to any installation by a contractor, it is the responsibility of the seller to provide warranty support, not the manufacturer.

To be safe, make no assumptions about a seller or any information provided in an online ad unless you can verify the legitimacy of the source. There are many online sources that are legitimate but there are a growing number who have found they can falsely present an image of a large successful substantial business but are only working out of an office in their homes with no experience or financial investment. As we explained in our warranty section your warranty is only as strong as the HVAC distributor or dealer/contractor. Making an investment of several thousand dollars for a project that requires useful technical support and assistance should be made through a distributor who has a long term history of success, a strong financial commitment and the proper training, knowledge and industry certification and recognition to be of the greatest assistance to you. 

Here are some examples of online fraud by some one-man shows working out of their homes. Several years ago we were contacted by a number of potential customers who were having technical questions and warranty support issues with an online seller. Their complaints were a result of misleading claims and statements made by this online seller. Confusion ranged from mismatched equipment and false claims of efficiency, to attempts to sell oversized equipment. This particular online seller was claiming efficiencies much higher than the manufacturers literature. Other complaints were for attempting to sell much larger equipment than was specified by DESCO Energy. The other problem was equipment that was not properly matched. It became a constant battle to explain the proper methods of sizing and showing legitimate specifications for the exact efficiencies or problems that would be encountered installing equipment proposed by this seller. As distributor of Goodman equipment we couldn't understand how another authorized distributor could be making such false claims and proposals for equipment. At a meeting with the Vice President of Goodman manufacturing, we voiced our complaints about this online seller and their practices. The Vice-President of Goodman told us to provide the name of the distributor and they would investigate the matter. A week later Goodman shockingly told us that no such distributor exists in their records and nobody by the seller's name had an account with Goodman. We assumed, like their potential customers, that the seller was a legitimate distributor of Goodman products as they had claimed on their website. What we did find out after further investigation shocked us and Goodman. DESCO Energy decided to find out who this seller was and their relationship to the HVAC industry. We began to investigate all the claims made by this seller such as having a sister trucking company with over 200 warehouses coast to coast. First we had difficulty finding any business address on the seller's website. The seller was also selling on eBay so we investigated and found the address was a residential address in Ohio. The seller was not an authorized distributor of any heating and air conditioning manufacturer. The seller was a truck driver working out of his house in Ohio. Ohio, like Pennsylvania, has a license requirement for any HVAC distributor. The truck driver was using his truck driver permit to skirt the issue of the mandated license requirement. But where was the seller getting their HVAC equipment? We had someone purchase equipment and used the serial number to track the seller's source. It came from an independent distributor on the truck driver's route. We surmised the distributor was attempting to increase their sales by using the truck driver as a front. If the distributor's contractor customers found out they were selling direct on the internet they could potentially lose most of their sales. We did a check of the seller's business record through Dun and Bradstreet to investigate the seller's real business activities. We won't divulge that information here but the most important information we gained from our intense investigation of this seller can save you a lot of potential problems in the future.

We also decided to investigate a number of other online sellers and on eBay and here is what we found. 98% have no direct affiliation with the manufacturer they advertise either as a dealer or a distributor. The information provided on their websites is misleading and is against industry requirements and standards. Most have no type of licensing nor any type of industry related training. Most work out of their homes or a small garage. Some are contractors and others have no industry affiliation, training or financial commitment in the form of a brick and mortar operation or inventory. They are what we call Box Sellers or bootleggers. Box sellers are simply interested in selling boxes. It was a result of our investigation and reported findings to Goodman that prompted Goodman to put an exclusion in their warranties regarding online sales.

Because there is such a proliferation of online sellers it is impossible for us to list those that are deceitfully misrepresenting themselves as authorized distributors or dealers.

Here's how you can protect yourself. First go to the manufacturer's website of the products the seller advertises. If you can't find them listed, they have no affiliation with the manufacturer. You can also call the manufacturer to verify this information. Key indicators of an unauthorized seller either as a Box Seller or Bootlegger are no business address listed or no references made to the manufacturer as an authorized distributor or dealer. Now why is this information so important? If the seller has no affiliation with the manufacturer, what affiliation do they have with the HVAC industry? If they have no affiliation or training, can you trust the information they provide or their continuing ability to support the warranty? How long will they continue in business? With no serious financial commitment or long term history in business, their ability to go out of business will also be quick and easy. And many of them have come and gone out of business in the short term there has been popularity to internet sales and advertising. There's no harm in being an entrepreneur, but there is harm in deceit. The truck driver is not honest, as was so highly stressed in the ads on the internet nor an authorized distributor. There were no 200 warehouses or a trucking company except his truck. Any potential customer taking the ad and information from the website at face value would assume they're dealing with a fairly large company with direct affiliation with the manufacturer. They would assume their purchase is going to have total warranty protection. But this online seller decided to retire and finally went out of business. To the dismay of all the seller's customers their warranties went out of business too as they found they couldn't get any warranty support.

Please note: There is an epidemic problem with the existing trade for oversizing of HVAC equipment and shoddy installations. Any reputable contractor will tell you their biggest problems aren't at all related to the quality of the HVAC equipment produced or the manufacturers, but from incompetent competing contractors performing shoddy installations. Protect yourself by making


certain you aren't a victim to the same problems online. Bad advice from an online seller will produce the same shoddy results as a problem contractor. HVAC equipment is not similar in any form to purchasing a major household appliance. Yet the vast majority of online websites by these sellers make selecting an HVAC system similar to that of purchasing a major appliance. By making it easier and making no requirements for something they've never practiced in their own contractor careers this breed of online sellers simply hopes to sell more boxes at whatever later expense and consequence to their customers. Perhaps they aren't concerned because they don't plan on being around long enough to deal with the problems they create? The problem proliferates itself when so many online sellers and contractors make no importance of the value of proper sizing by Manual J industry accepted standards. DESCO Energy and SEER many times come across as the odd online seller because of our constant emphasis about accurate sizing. We are the only online source offering accurate Manual J sizing online while other online seller's offer planting charts and at the most some simplistic calculator to determine square footage per ton for sizing. Yet every reputable online source including manufacturers and the Department of Energy all stress the importance of Manual J sizing. Are we oddly different with our Manual J sizing requirements and installation guidelines? We are accurately different in your best interests. 

At DESCO Energy we realize there are a number of homeowners who want to make their purchase from a legitimate source and from a legitimate company that will be around for many years to come. We also realize these customers want the best technical support and proper guidelines to assist them from a company with thousands of similar successes. But there are also homeowners who simply don't do any research and assume all online suppliers are the same.  We also realize those customers not taking the time will later create the most problems and have the least successful installations. They are the very same customers who will complain later the manufacturer's equipment was at fault and caused the problem. Add those homeowners to the contractors causing the same problems and blaming manufacturers and we can see how easy it becomes for manufacturers to take a beating for problems out of their control. They will blame the failures on the excessive service problems and resultant system failure because the equipment didn't provide the level of comfort or efficiency they expected. The same epidemic problems that plague the HVAC industry are exacerbated by illegitimate online sellers who are most times the same problems contractors and persons having no affiliation with the HVAC industry.

At DESCO Energy we will continue to expand our knowledge center online and improve our technical support and services to you. As the leader and pioneer in legitimate online sales of HVAC systems to homeowners it is our goal to set the standards, guidelines and requirements for all online sales and sellers. We firmly believe the adoption of our guidelines and standards will provide each homeowner with a successful HVAC installation.

For questions or comments call us toll free 877-265-9764 or email info@descoenergy.com

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