A very reputable company in our city gave us a quote of $3880 for a new Rheem unit, 3.5 ton, 16 SEER, single stage - a nice middle of the road unit. Rheem and Trane are at the top of Consumer Reports for air conditioners.
We also have a mutual friend that installs HVAC and would give us a much cheaper price, but he can't get the top brand units because they only sell large quantities to big companies. He can get us smaller names made by the same manufacturers, like Payne (owned by Carrier)...
Then I did some research online and found that there are wholesalers that sell A/C units on ebay for great prices with free shipping.
I'm considering getting the Rheem unit on ebay and having our friend install it. From what I can see on the manufacturer websites, as long as you register your purchase within 90 days of receiving it, the warranties will still apply no matter who installs it or where you purchased it. Has anyone purchased such a large item on ebay? Or do you have any recommendations on A/C brands?