Last updated on February 15, 2024

Introduction: Separating Genuine Bargains from Sneaky Upsells

G’day everyone! If you’re anything like me, the allure of a good deal is hard to resist, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like air conditioners. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good bargain? But here’s the thing: not all deals are as sweet as they seem. Let’s dive into the world of air conditioner deals and uncover the sneaky tactics some retailers use to reel you in.

The Alluring Low Unit Cost Trap

We’ve all seen those ads, right? A top-of-the-line air conditioner at a price that seems too good to be true. And often, it is. Retailers know that a low upfront cost can be a massive draw-card, but what they don’t always tell you is that there are other costs lurking in the shadows.

The Initial Attraction:

It starts with a price tag that makes you think, “Struth, that’s a steal!” But as the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Hidden Costs:

So you’ve spotted an air conditioner at a bargain price. But wait, it doesn’t include installation. And if you’re not a tradie or a DIY whiz, you’ll need to fork out for a third-party installer. These costs can add up, turning that “bargain” into a regular-priced purchase, or worse, an expensive mistake.

The Upselling Game

Retailers aren’t just content with getting you in the door with a low unit price. Once they’ve got you, they’ll try to upsell you on all sorts of extras.

Installation Upsells:

Some retailers, like our mates at Harvey Norman, might offer to take care of the installation for you. Sounds convenient, right? But often, they’ll charge you an arm and a leg for it. And while they might talk up their service, claiming it’s superior to others, in reality, it’s often no better (and sometimes worse) than what you’d get from an independent installer.

Extended Warranty Woes:

Then there’s the extended warranty pitch. “For just a little extra, you can have peace of mind for years to come.” But here’s the thing: many air conditioners already come with decent manufacturer warranties. So, before you shell out for an extended warranty, consider whether it’s really giving you any additional benefits.

Retailer Tactics Revealed

The Harvey Norman Case:

Big retailers have this down to a fine art. Take Harvey Norman, for example. They’re pros at offering a low initial price and then making up for it with upsells. But when you do the maths, you often find that you’re not getting a better deal at all. In fact, by the time you’ve added on installation, extended warranty, and other extras, you could end up paying more than if you’d gone to a smaller retailer or bought directly from the manufacturer.

Reading Between the Lines: Unraveling Air Conditioner Advertising Tricks

  1. Bold Advertising Tactics:
    • Retailers often use big, bold fonts to showcase the low unit price.
    • Additional costs? They’re usually tucked away in the fine print.
    • The strategy? They’re banking on customers overlooking the details.
  2. The Importance of the Fine Print:
    • The key to outsmarting sneaky advertising? Always read the fine print.
    • Hidden details often include:
      • Installation costs.
      • Limitations of the warranty.
      • Other potential pitfalls or “fishhooks.”
    • It might seem tedious, but understanding the fine print can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Tips for a Genuine Air Conditioner Deal

Do Your Homework:

Before you commit to a purchase, do a bit of research. What’s the average cost for the unit you’re looking at? How much should installation set you back? A little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

Ask the Right Questions:

When you’re in the store, don’t be shy. Ask the salesperson to break down all the costs for you. And if they offer installation or an extended warranty, ask them to justify the cost. What are you really getting for your money?

Your Air Conditioner Deal Checklist

Before you take the plunge and invest in a new air conditioner, run through this handy checklist to ensure you’re getting a genuine deal:

  1. Unit Price: Is the advertised price for the unit alone or does it include installation?
  2. Installation Costs: If installation isn’t included, how much will it set you back? Consider getting a quote from us for residential installation services for a comparison.
  3. Warranty: What’s the standard manufacturer’s warranty? Is the extended warranty really offering anything extra?
  4. Fine Print: Always read the terms and conditions. Look for any hidden fees or charges.
  5. Upsells: Are you being upsold on services or features you don’t really need?
  6. Reviews: Check out customer reviews for both the air conditioner model and the retailer.
  7. Energy Efficiency: Will the unit be cost-effective in the long run? Consider its energy rating.
  8. Brand Reputation: Is the air conditioner from a reputable brand? Check out this comprehensive guide for Aussies for insights.
  9. Professional Advice: Consider consulting with a professional about the best air conditioner for your needs. They might offer insights you hadn’t considered.
  10. Future Costs: Think about potential future costs, like maintenance or replacement parts.

By ticking off each point on this checklist, you’ll be in a prime position to ensure you’re getting a top-notch deal without any nasty surprises. Remember, a well-informed buyer is a smart buyer. Stay cool and shop wisely!



Look, we all love a good deal. But when it comes to air conditioners, it pays to be a savvy shopper. Don’t be dazzled by a low unit price. Look at the whole package and make sure you’re really getting value for money. And remember, if in doubt, always read the fine print.

So next time you’re in the market for an air conditioner, keep your wits about you. With a bit of know-how and a healthy dose of skepticism, you can avoid the traps and bag yourself a genuine bargain.
Till next time, stay cool and shop smart!

Posted onAugust 15, 2023

Post Written by

Brendan Ward is a senior HVAC+R contractor, renowned in his industry as the go-to person for advice, design and planning of commercial air conditioning installations. Brendan has been a qualified professional in both the residential and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning sector for almost 25 years, and has owned Coalfield's Climate Control, a leading air conditioning company in the Hunter Valley for over a decade.

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