The Commerce Commission has laid ten charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986 against Ocean Contracting Limited (also trading as Ocean Heatmaster) for representations made during servicing of heat pumps.
The Commission alleges that Ocean Contracting misled consumers by telling them that their heat pumps were leaking refrigerant gas and that it would cost between $180 and $400 to "top up" the refrigerant gas.
The Commission alleges that none of the complainants' heat pumps required a refrigerant top-up, and the evidence gathered by the Commission suggests that Ocean Contracting did not actually carry out the gas top-ups which it held out as necessary.
All ten complainants are from Otago or Southland and received cold calls from Ocean Contracting in 2016 or 2017, later followed by a visit to service their heat pumps.
Most complainants are retired, the ComCom says.
Ocean Contracting is owned by Sangeeta Devi Naidu and Mithun Nalinesh Naidu, both of Avonhead in Christchurch.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Commerce Commission first said it was investigating Ocean Contracting after a Dunedin pensioner raised concerns about its service in April 2017.
Concerns were raised by pensioner Madeline Clark (75) expressed her concerns in the Otago Daily Times after receiving a $350 invoice from Ocean Contracting, which the company ultimately waived.