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Company for heat pump in hot water

The Commerce Commission is taking legal action against a South Island heat pump contractor, which it says misrepresented its services to the public.

The contracting ocean – also trading as Ocean Hitmaster – faces 10 charges under the Fair Trading Act for "representations made while servicing heat pumps."

The charges relate to complaints from Otago and Southland customers who received cold calls from Ocean Contracting in 2016 or 2017, with subsequent visits to servicing their heat pumps.

Most of the applicants were pensioners.

The commission claims that Ocean Contractors misled consumers by telling them their heat pumps were leaking refrigerant gas and that it would cost between $ 180 and $ 400 to "collect" refrigerant gas.

"The Commission argues that none of the applicants' heat pumps required a refrigerant from the refrigerator and the evidence gathered by the panel suggests that the Ocean Contractor did not in fact perform the gasoline refurbishments it maintained as needed."

A former client, Madeleine Clark of Bush Half, complained about Ocean Contracting services in 2017, after two service technicians advised the pump to have a gas leak, which would cost an additional $ 350 to replace.

She agreed and the work took "about 10 minutes", she said.

Davis Heath & Cool manager Peter Shetlburg said the heat pump would simply stop working if there was a refrigerant leak.

"It would also take much longer than 10 minutes to clean and repair – we would estimate about two to three hours of work, including gas which should cost about $ 250 plus GST for a full replacement."

Ocean HeatMaster subsequently waived Ms. Clark's $ 350 fee.

The owner and manager of Christchurch-based contractor Mithew Naidu declined to return calls today.

McClelland cooling owner Johnon McClelland said unit service should cost around $ 125 – $ 140 depending on whether it is a high wall or floor unit.

He said there were no "surprises" that the company was attracted to.

"It's an ongoing issue. A lot of these performers make a jack **, "he said.

He warned consumers against using "cold calling" companies, suggesting that people should look for a reputable company that also sells and installs them.

"Otherwise, you get someone who basically takes 20 minutes, cleans the filter and wipes the unit down – nothing you can do on your own," he said.

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