Duct Cleaning Scams
Years ago, duct cleaning was uncommon and therefore ignored by scammers. Today it is a necessary industry to keep homes clean and healthy. So, just like any growing industry scammers could see an opportunity and took advantage of it. Here in the Hamilton, Burlington, St. Catharines, and Brantford areas, home owners have been bombarded with calls for duct cleaning. Since most of the credible duct cleaning contractors do not cold call your home, a duct cleaning phone call is very likely a scammer.
Will they do the job?
This depends on your expectations. Their first priority is to get their equipment into your house and begin working. It becomes much more intimidating for you to get rid of them after that. Then the high pressure sales tactics begin when they find 'issues' not included in the original price. Even if you don't fall for these tactics, they do not bring the right equipment or skill sets to do a proper job. Compound this with their lack of business insurance and you are on the hook for repairs when they break anything and don't tell you, such as your furnace.
Where do these scammer come from?
These calls originate in other countries who are selling cheap duct cleaning services to get into your home for the upsell. They will try to validate themselves by mentioning the name of a local duct cleaning company, sometimes even referring to the real company's website.
How do I identify a scammer?
Since most duct cleaning contractors do not cold call your home, be on guard when you get one of these calls:
- Ask for their website. They often give you the website of a reputable business which they have no association with.
- Say 'I feel more comfortable calling the number on the website'. This will get a reaction if it is not the reputable company calling you.
- If they make an excuse about not calling the business phone, such as them not getting credit for the job, then say 'Give me your name so I can give you credit when I book with the company on the website you gave me'.
- 99% of the time, they will do everything they can including giving you a new phone number so you don't call the reputable companies website phone number.
- If you do try booking with the scammers, they will instruct you to 'instead call the driver directly if you have questions' and avoid the reputable companies phone number.
How will you know if the job is done right?
In most cases, you can't tell which is what the scammers are banking on. Other than vacuuming your floor grates and removing the dust on your vents it is very difficult to know if the ducts were cleaned properly. If there is a problem and you want to complain, scammers don't care because you will blame the innocent reputable company they pretended to coming from.
Video Of Duct Cleaning Scams
CBC marketplace ran a segment on them. It is worth looking up.