The high temperatures, the reopening of the economy after weeks of closure due to the health emergency caused by the Covid-19 and the federal checks for financial assistance due to the pandemic have created a perfect storm for the exhaustion of air equipment. conditioning in most businesses, and so that countless "chiveros" are doing deficient installation work for these equipment for which they are not qualified or authorized.
As reported by Antonio Figueroa Rey, president of the College of Technicians of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning in Puerto Rico, the situation is such that there are people who take turns waiting to acquire air conditioners, whenever they arrive on the Island, something that ordinarily can take a month and a half to two months.
“Well what happened is that first with the earthquakes, then the pandemic, the government closes everything and cannot work, and then a barbaric heat comes and the checks of the $ 1,200. And yes, you have to eat, but there is a barbaric heat and we are locked up. And then they open, and everything that was not sold in previous months is being sold, "said Figueroa.
He added that" the 12,000 Btu (air conditioners) are selling a lot, which are the small ones, the people more seeks. Those were the first to run out. ”
As if that were not enough, Figueroa commented, to the lack of air conditioners in stores is added the fact that China, which is the place where a large number of these devices are manufactured , was weeks without producing by the pandemic. And in addition, there is a growing world demand for such equipment, since the strong heat is impacting countless nations.
“Air conditioners will be arriving. Now you may get one or another of some emerging brand or one that they saved to sell more expensive. But right now, people have been waiting for air for weeks. There are companies that have said that they will arrive for next week. There is a store that said that by the end of June or beginning of July it is arriving. So the situation is very critical, bad. ”
In the midst of all this frenzy of purchases of air conditioners, the president of the College of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians of Puerto Rico denounced that there are people who are taking advantage to deceive people with attractive offers and making facilities that even put people in danger.
“People look for prices on the networks, they see the special of $ 499, and well if they are not aware of what is happening, and they need a air, because they take advantage. But what happens is that there are a lot of people who don't have a license, and they call it, they install the air and then it gets damaged and then the guy doesn't appear. We are seeing that a lot, "he denounced.
He commented that in just a couple of hours in the morning, before talking to Primera Hora at around noon, he had already answered 30 calls about situations with poor facilities, and he had dozens more pending to attend.
“And they are all affected people because chiveros are the ones who did the work. None have a registered license, "he reiterated. “They make these offers because, since they do not pay IVU or CRIM, maybe they will not pay or pay anything, and they do not give a guarantee, and if they are damaged they do not show their face either.”
But even more, they are having cases of people who claim to have a college license number, and when they go to check the registry, "it turns out someone else's license number."
"I have two cases right now like this. They have done the work and a false license number, "he denounced.
In one of the cases, they already went to make the complaint to the authorities, along with the injured person and the technician to whom the number he gave in the the scammer bills. The other case, he warned, “is posing as a refrigeration technician and an electrician, he advertises himself as such and that is false.”
He reiterated that most of the calls they have answered are from people who responded to television commercials. installation for $ 499, but they are poor installations and do not give guarantees.
“We have gone to verify and we have seen horrible things. On Friday, he went to see one that connected three consoles in a single 20-amp breaker. That is nonsense, a tremendous fire hazard. The house did not catch fire because the lady called earlier, because the air did not cool. That chivero bungled there, something very dangerous, "he said, adding that this type of situation" is happening a lot in the Caguas and Gurabo area.
He explained that the store's standard guarantee for air conditioning equipment is five years on parts and seven years on the compressor. The warranty typically offered by qualified technicians is six months to one year.
“That is what the person should expect from the technician. If it does not, there is a trick and that is why it has such cheap offers, "he insisted. “Here in the College there are about 300 complaints right now, from those kinds of situations.”
He insisted on recommending that only qualified technicians be used for the installation. Although he acknowledges that an installation with a qualified technician “must be around $ 795”, if it is a basic installation that does not require other additional work, “in the end it will be better for him, because if he starts paying less with the chivero , it will be damaged and you will have to pay for the entire installation again, if the air still works and you do not have to end up buying another one. ”
Furthermore, if the qualified technician for some reason is not Available to attend the guarantee, “the College or the company helps you solve with another technician.”
“They should always ask for the license, because before anything, you can get that technician. The registered technician does a good job, receives seminars, is up to date. And we go and verify that the work is well done, ”he assured. “And to renew your license, the technician must have a certificate of good conduct, a health certificate, an ASUME certificate, and 32 hours of continuing education. All this gives you a guarantee. ”
He added that for more security, people can consult the list of authorized technicians on the College's page at ctrapr.org . “The photo and the technician's phone number appear there, so they can't fool you. With that you solve a thousand problems, what's more, you avoid the problem before it comes, "he insisted.