When it comes to big purchases, how often do you check to see if you can find the item cheaper online?
Nowadays, it’s practically second nature to look up prices on the Internet before we buy. There are dozens of apps and websites dedicated to helping us do just that.
In many ways, the Internet has been a boon to consumers. It increases transparency on pricing and provides a wealth of information to help us make well-informed choices about how we spend our hard-earned cash.
However, this wealth of information can sometimes lead us down the wrong path.
Since the arrival of sites like eBay and Amazon, we occasionally receive calls from homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area who want us to install equipment or parts they have purchased online. Other times, we’ll be asked if we can source parts and equipment more cheaply from third-party reseller websites.
In both cases, the answer is no: AtlasCare will not install consumer-supplied parts equipment, nor use parts and equipment from a seller we don’t know.
Below, we’ll explain why we don’t recommend buying HVAC parts and equipment online, and why AtlasCare declines to work with those parts.
1. Finding the Right Part for the Job Isn’t Easy
Suppose a service technician inspects your air conditioner, finds out what’s wrong, and quotes the necessary repairs at $800.00, including $450.00 for the cost of replacement parts.
Later, you search the parts on eBay and find them available for a fraction of that.
Why not buy the parts now, and have another technician install them later?
It seems simple enough, but shopping for HVAC and finding the right part for the job isn’t as simple as searching for it online. Many components look similar but are not compatible with all system makes and models. Parts are easily miscategorized or mislabelled.
2. The Trouble with Warranties
To most of us, a new furnace or air conditioner is a significant financial investment – one intended to last for years and years.
Warranties are vital in protecting that investment.
However, many manufacturers do not honour warranties on parts and equipment purchased directly by the consumer from a non-certified distributor.
There are valid reasons for these kinds of policies: manufacturers don’t want consumers to take on the risks of installing equipment themselves, and the return rate tends to be higher for products purchased online.
In addition to these consumer-sourced parts not being covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, just installing non-warrantied parts can void the warranty of your existing equipment.
When we install parts and equipment, we want to make sure our consumers are protected in the event of a problem. That’s why our equipment comes with an Unconditional Warranty. However, we cannot provide the same assurance with consumer-supplied parts.
3. No Recourse for Defective Parts
One of the benefits of sourcing our parts and equipment from trusted suppliers is the recourse it gives our customers in the event of a manufacturing defect.
To start, our technicians have enough familiarity with our products to notice many defects before the equipment even leaves our warehouse. We can then have the equipment replaced as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, consumers who purchase parts over the internet may not have the same eye for defects.
Worse, consumers who source parts from resellers have little to no recourse if the equipment turns out to be defective.
Even in a best-case scenario (the seller provides a replacement at no cost), the consumer still pays more than twice the normal service cost: once for initial installation, again for removal of the defective equipment, and a final appointment to install the replacement equipment.
4. Cheaper Equipment Can Have Unexpected Costs
If you found a site selling the latest iPhone for a mere $100 – no strings attached – you’d probably raise an eyebrow.
When an expensive item is suddenly available for cheap, there is probably a reason for it.
In the case of HVAC parts and equipment, there are several possibilities:
- The equipment could have been opened once already, meaning it could be damaged or missing small parts.
- The equipment could be counterfeit and lacking the minimum quality and safety standards set by the original manufacturer.
- The equipment may have been salvaged and refurbished for resale.
If you want to guarantee you’re getting reliable, high-quality parts and equipment, a certified distributor is the only way to go.
5. There Are Better Ways to Save
It’s understandable that someone would consider buying their own equipment only and hiring someone to install it. Energy isn’t cheap, and we’d all like to save wherever we can.
However, buying equipment online isn’t the right way to save.
Instead, use that internet browser to search for rebates on heating and cooling equipment in Ontario – including the Save on Energy rebates offered by the IESO and manufacturer rebates through trusted names like Lennox.
Your installation will always go smoother when it involves warrantied, distributor-certified parts and a qualified installer you trust.