Here's an example:
I did a full quote for a lady that wanted "variable speed, 16 SEER". Her current system is 9 years old (the house is 9 years old) and failing because it was originally installed by the absolute cheapest new construction contractor in the area. (their expertise is getting an outlet in every room but NEVER an outlet or trunkline to deliver the proper cfm's----they have a "warranty guy" that keeps coming out until the homeowner finally gives up )
My bid included load calc, duct evaluation, duct remediation to get actual airflow to her master bedroom. Well she chose the "cheap" bid just replacing the equipment and not addressing the other issues (variable speed will solve her problems the cheap guy told her....NOT!!!!) So she's got a new system that will need to be replaced in another 9 years, maybe sooner with the high static pressure it will be forced to operate at. And I bet she will also be keeping the thick dark heavy curtains to keep her master bedroom cool
The cheap guy will get praises and referrals from her for the next few years.
So tell me....Did she get ripped off? I think so. She just bought equipment that will never perform to its potential or last a full service life. She is happy as a clam....she must have really liked the guy with the american flag bowtie