Every fall, Canadian homeowners are inundated with calls from companies claiming to offer “great deals” on duct cleaning services. Unfortunately, many homeowners are swayed by the promise of low prices or can even be bullied into agreeing to these scam services. Soon after, these homeowners learn the hard way that if a deal seems too good to be true, it often is. Not only are homeowners victims of this scam, but many reputable duct cleaning companies have had their identities stolen by these scam companies. If you’ve been getting such calls or know someone who has, it’s important to know how to protect yourself. Here’s how to avoid being taken advantage of by scam duct cleaning companies.
How The Duct Cleaning Scam Works
In most cases, a homeowner will get a call on their phone from a seemingly local number. Upon answering, a salesperson will begin pitching their company’s services. Typically they are calling to offer “an amazing one-time deal” that is too good to pass up. Some may offer deals such as $100 for an entire home cleaning. Once a homeowner agrees to an appointment, a classic bait and switch tactic is used. If the company does in fact show up, as many scam companies take the appointment deposit and run, they will begin to upsell the homeowner on wildly expensive and unnecessary services. With the company already at their home, many homeowners feel pressured into accepting the additional services and can end up paying hundreds of dollars for services they don’t need.
Another part of this scam is that the company doesn’t actually perform any of the services they claim to do. They may show up with equipment and make it look like they’re doing something, but more often than not they’re just putting on a show. By the time all is said and done, the homeowner is left overpaying for services they didn’t receive or even need.
In actual fact, these companies are never local and instead are often calling from far away on behalf of a telemarketing company. Their goal is to trick homeowners into thinking they are part of a reputable company, so they will agree to the services. These scam companies are never who they say they are, so don’t be fooled if they claim to be from a well-known company with a good reputation.
Who is at Risk?
While we all like to think we’re too smart to fall for such a scam, you would be surprised by how convincing these scam companies are. Especially when they claim to be from a great company. Homeowners of a certain generation who are used to companies calling and offering services over the phone are more likely to believe their lies. If you have an elderly parent or friend who you think may fall for such a call, be sure to discuss this scam with them. Education is the best way to prevent being taken by such a scam.
At HomeStars, we know how hard our home service professionals work to earn and maintain their reputation. These scam companies use the credibility of these companies to further trick homeowners. Not only does this scam homeowners, but it has the potential to ruin the reputation of a good company. You may see banners and messages posted on their company websites alerting homeowners that they are a victim of company identity theft and will encourage homeowners to not book these services.
How To Protect Yourself from Duct Cleaning Scams
Scam companies are persuasive and spend time figuring out how they can trick homeowners out of their hard-earned money. By educating yourself on their tactics, you can help protect yourself and others from duct cleaning scams.
1. Never Book a Service through a Cold Call
Times have changed and no longer do companies go door to door trying to pitch their services to homeowners. Instead, homeowners go online and use websites like HomeStars to connect with pros. According to the pros, any legitimate company will not use cold calling or door-to-door sales tactics. They also will not hire telemarketing companies to make calls on their behalf.
2. Always Investigate Companies
No matter the service you are having done to your home, it’s important to investigate the company before you agree to hire them. Do an online search for the company’s name as this will bring up their website and various online profiles. Check to see if the company has a banner on their website about these scams and if they’re a victim of company identity theft.
3. Don’t Fall for Too Good to Be True Deals
Duct cleaning is an expensive and time-consuming project. It requires skilled and knowledgeable professionals with the right tools and equipment. The good news is that you only need to clean your ducts every few years, so you don’t have to worry about paying annually for this task. Every house is different and the set up of your duct system is unique to your home. Pricing can vary greatly depending on your needs. It is nearly impossible for a company to know what your home needs and to be able to quote you an accurate price over the phone. Scam companies will offer deals that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than the actual price in order to trick you.
4. If You Feel Uncomfortable, Hang Up
It’s unfortunate that many homeowners become victims of these scams because they feel pressured to say yes. These scam companies can bully homeowners into accepting their services even though they know better. It may go against our polite Canadian ways, but sometimes you just have to hang up the phone. If you receive one of these scam calls and it makes you feel uncomfortable, simply say you are not interested and hang up the phone. You can even block the number they are calling from so they cannot reach you again.
If you need to hire a duct cleaning company, be sure to do your research and only hire a reputable company. Be sure to look at their company website and HomeStars profile. This will help you find a company you can trust to provide you with an accurate quote and actually get the job done. You can read this article for more information about fair duct cleaning pricing. Don’t be fooled by scam companies and remember, you can always hang up.