Air-conditioner repairmen held for defrauding customers

After the service, the repairman charged 1,960 yuan (US$290), but she later found that the air-conditioner still had problems, and the repairman became unreachable, police said.
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Three suspects have been detained for allegedly defrauding people who sought air-conditioner repair services, police said on Thursday.

Police in Qingpu District started their investigation in June after they received a report from a woman surnamed Xia.

Xia searched on baidu.com for air-conditioner repair services and contacted the first number that came up in search results.

After the service, the repairman charged 1,960 yuan (US$290), but she later found that the air-conditioner still had problems, and the repairman became unreachable, police said.

She said she thought the repairman came from the official repair service, but the official service denied that it had been sought.

Xia was one of over 50 victims of the three suspects who were caught by police last week.

The three signed up on a phishing website offering air-conditioner repair services and took orders from there. They charged unreasonably high prices for the replacement of broken parts, and when they couldn’t repair the air-conditioners they employed a trick to get away — victims were told not to turn their air-conditioners on for a few hours, giving them plenty of time to escape, police said.

Two of the suspects, who are brothers, once ran a company which offered air-conditioner services, and they claimed that they turned to scams to make money after that business failed, according to police.

The three have allegedly profited about 80,000 yuan from the fraud.

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