It seems like everyone’s trying to “earn a dollar” off of you these days. While scams used to be predictable and rather easy to dodge, these days, scams are almost impossible to spot unless you actually do research on how to avoid them. Who’d have thought, right? Well, we’re so glad you are here! Below, we’ve got some information on just how you can avoid those scams and save your money for the people who really deserve it!
The biggest scam: a $99 air duct cleaning offer
If you’ve done any amount of research, you know that a $99 air duct cleaning is horrendously cheap. So cheap, in fact, that it may seem like it should be at the top of your list. However, this is the worst mistake you can make -- and that’s specifically why it’s gotten so many people to bite.
This scam tactic charges homeowners their $99 for a full cleaning of their air ducts. Seems simple enough, right? But, these same hard-working homeowners end up paying thousands and thousands because these so-called “professionals” find all sorts of problems.
Some furnaces require a sanitizer, costing over $400. Others needed a new light, which cost over $600 for each bulb. Others required a fogger to help destroy mold and bacteria and it cost over $2,000.
The list goes on. The thing is, this is one of those classic “bait and switch” tactics that is actually illegal. It means that they charge you a cheap rate to come in and clean, but then they “find” all sorts of things wrong with your system that end up costing hundreds or thousands instead. They “must” be repaired immediately or your health may suffer. In reality, your system may be completely fine, but this tactic scares homeowners into complying without seeing the final tally until after.
How to spot a scam
If you want to spot a scam before it gets to your pocketbook, here are some helpful tips to guide you away from one beforehand.
Ask for, and follow-up on, all references: All proper, professional duct cleaners should have ho issues immediately giving references. Those references should be contacted and checked out. If anything seems too sketchy (they won’t answer specific questions, for instance), walk away. Get negative feedback as well as positive feedback. Real customers will likely have at least one negative thing to report, after all!
Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB is responsible for listing all licensed professionals as well as any possible violations or problems and insurances. This is great for making sure that they are who they say they are!
Get more than one quote from local companies with good reputations: Always, always get more than one quote. In fact, try to get 3 or 4 and then compare them with each other. If they’re all in the same general ballpark, go with the one who gives you the best price OR the one that comes most highly recommended, preferably from someone you know.
Your sleuthing skills are going to be the best and easiest way to save some serious cash, and that’s certainly reason-enough to take it upon yourself to protect yourself from a scam!
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