Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Furnace repair alert

CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- With temperatures staring to cool, a lot of people are getting their furnaces ready for winter. People should be skeptical if their unit's been working fine and someone now tells it has major problems. The scam started with a phone call and a pleading voice on the other end of the line. It often ends with the recipient losing thousands of dollars. Brian Jackson, a scam victim, said, "When they came to look at it they said, 'Oh, the furnace is shot. You need a new furnace.' Basically."Jackson said he knew his furnace was old but he hadn't been having any problems, "They were really heavy on scare tactics. They were telling my wife that the carbon monoxide levels were really high and we had probably been suffering last winter with carbon monoxide poisoning and weren't even aware of it."Jackson said their carbon monoxide detector never went off, but he said the technician told him that too was old. Then he put a red tag on the furnace."Apparently when a furnace is inoperable or dangerous the technician will red tag it and turn the gas off and red tag basically saying, 'You're not to use this unit because it's dangerous,'" said Jackson.But, instead of having that company install a new furnace costing thousands of dollars, Jackson called in another company for a second opinion. "I thought they would maybe collaborate some of the guys things and say well maybe you need a new this or a new that but they said there's absolutely nothing wrong with your furnace."That second company came in with, among other things, a CO2 detector and determined there was no carbon monoxide danger.Jackson said, "They turned the gas back on, removed the red tag and went on their way."Jackson said he called that first company and said don't come back. Local 12 News has not named the company because the same type of thing happened with several companies. If people are told they need a new furnace, get a second opinion right away. If the technician turns off the gas and red tags the furnace, immediately call Duke Energy to confirm if there's a danger.

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