As summer rolls in, many homeowners are thinking about their HVAC system. If yours is aging, you may be considering replacing it. Recently, a new type of HVAC leasing scheme has come over from Canada, the Canadian HVAC rental model. But beware, because leasing your HVAC system may land you with a huge headache and an even bigger bill!

The offer may seem enticing…

  • Get a whole new HVAC system installed with no up-front costs.
  • The low monthly payments don’t start for 90 days.
  • You’ll have lifetime service including filter changes and lifetime repairs.
  • You’ll never have to buy another HVAC system!

But the plan comes with a lot of strings attached.

Once you sign that lease, you are stuck with the lessor for life. You can’t switch providers. If your equipment needs repair, you are limited to the lessor or their chosen company to make the repairs. Don’t like the service? You have no other choice. And when you agree to let them service your equipment, you’re also agreeing to let them onto your property to access the equipment at any time!

You don’t own your equipment.

When you lease, the lessor maintains ownership of the equipment. You’re just renting it. That means that your homeowner’s insurance may not cover it, because it’s not technically yours! But even though you don’t own it, when you sign the lease you accept responsibility for any damage to the unit. If you skip any maintenance, you could be liable, too. And guess who decides the cost of damage? You guessed it! The leasing company determines how much you owe them.

What if you want to challenge the leasing company?

It may seem a bit unfair that the leasing company is the one setting the cost of damage. And you’re right, it is unfair. But don’t think you can challenge their judgment. When you sign that lease, you are signing away your right to sue. Almost every HVAC leasing agreement has the following clause: “You waive the benefit and protection of ANY LAW that limits our remedies under this agreement.” In other words, you have no recourse whatsoever.

But isn’t it cheaper to lease?

In the short-term, HVAC companies that want you to lease will tout low monthly payments. But unlike a purchased unit, those payments never stop. If you purchase a unit, you may make payments for two to five years, after which it is paid off, and you own the unit. But not with a lease. When you lease, you’ll pay for that unit every month for at least eight years. And at the end of eight years you have a choice: buy out the old unit for thousands of dollars (much more than it’s worth), or roll over into a new lease and keep up those monthly payments. Unless you buy out the unit, you could keep may payments for as long as you live!

Here’s how the Toronto Sun newspaper describes the costs of leasing versus purchasing:

“The furnace {lease} may only be $100 a month but consider what the cost will be over the entire rental period. A furnace purchase priced in the $4,000 to $5,000 range may end up costing you upwards of $18,000…” (from an article published  Nov 23rd, 2015)

That’s just crazy!

If you want to find out what consumers are saying, just Google the words “Canadian HVAC rental model complaints”. You’ll be amazed by the stories of real customers who fell into this trap.

If you’re looking for a reliable heating and cooling company, don’t fall for the smooth sale. Instead, try these TrustDALE certified businesses.

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Do you have quesitons about this HVAC scam? Have you been scammed by an HVAC lease? Contact TrustDALE and let us know.

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