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How Can You Protect Yourself Against Air Duct Cleaning Scams?
In a tough economy we are seeing them everywhere, local ads offering a low price air duct cleaning as little as $39.99! While these ads seem like a great deal with minimal risk; consumers should be leery.
First, let us disprove the validity and possibility of a $39.99 air duct cleaning.
A standard duct cleaning or vent cleanin usually requires two men. According to Simply Hired, in the state of Ohio, the average salary of duct cleaners is fifteen dollars per hour. We will set up a fictitious scenario to display how the cost will outweigh the profit of such a low priced duct cleaning.
If a job is at least twenty minutes in travel one way that is a total travel time of forty minutes. Forty minutes of man hours times two men is eighty minutes of cost for the duct cleaning company; totaling a cost of $20.00 that must be paid to technicians for travel alone.
(40minutesx2men=80minutes; 80minutes/60minutes=1 and 1/3hours; 1 and 1/3hours x $15 per/hour = $20)
Therefore, an air duct cleaning company is looking at a profit of $19.99. However, that $19.99 must go towards other essentials for running a business such as: cost of equipment, fuel, and insurance.
As you can clearly see it is not feasible, practical, or possible for a company to offer a $39.99 air duct cleaning. No one can spend more money than they make and survive; neither a person nor a business. Thus, common sense and basic economics will tell you that a $39.99 price is too good to be true!
Next, we will explain in detail how the scam works.
The company will arrive with a portable vacuum and begin the set up process. They will set up the vacuum, connect hoses, and even cut holes in your duct work. The set up process will take place before any price is reviewed. Once the set-up is complete they may start the duct cleaning and vent cleaning immediately or stop after set up.
Next, the air duct cleaners will then come to you with some of the following statements; “This is larger than we expected,” “You have an extra trunk line,” “You have more duct work than anticipated,” “You duct work is poorly laid out,” following these statements they will explain to you the additional cost. Now as the consumer you have a decision to make, but as you think about the pros and cons the following runs through your mind; “They are already setup,” “I have already rearranged my schedule,” “I have already taken off of work,” “It needs to be cleaned,” “I don’t have time to reschedule,” etc. These exact thoughts are what the duct cleaning company is banking on; and thus, you will agree to the additional cost.
But it does not stop there!
After continuing with job they will then return explaining that they have found something else wrong with the duct work. In this case they will look to reference something that will get you to commit to the further additional cost. For example, if you’re a parent or elderly, the duct cleaners may suggest you have mold and will discuss the benefit for health problems. At this point in the discussion, their job is to make a sale by looking for what you “need.” By preying on your needs and circumstances you are then guilty and obligated to completing the job at all additional costs.
Duct cleaning or vent cleaning scams can be compared to having the oil changed in your car. They are always trying to get you with add-ons i.e. new wipers or a new air filter.
How can you protect yourself?
- Ask for a price guarantee in writing.
- Check with the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) for standards.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) by looking for companies with A ratings and avoid those with F ratings.
- Reference Consumer Affairs.
- If you are a member of Angie’s List, use them as a resource.
- Read the fine print on all offers.
- Check the company’s location; as we discussed earlier no company will commute for $39.99.
- Check for company longevity.
Why Pringle Mega-Vac?
With one phone call you not only get Price Protection, Satisfaction and Appointment Air Duct Cleaning Guarantee!
- We will quote you a price in writing and that price is guaranteed not to change at time of service or your vent cleaning is free.*
- We guarantee our time of arrival to be within a 2 hour a window.
- We guarantee your satisfaction or we will return to correct anything that does not meet your satisfaction.
- We have been in business for 45 years and have been owned by the same family.
- We have been NADCA certified for 17 years
*Applies to Residential duct cleanings only. Quotes/estimates are based on information given by the customer and include the following: the number of rooms in the home, the number of systems, location of the system(s), type of system(s). Misinformation will void this guarantee.
Still not convinced?
In Ohio alone two cases caused scammers to pay over 1.7 million dollars in fines and restitution. Recently, Dateline NBC aired an episode that exposed air duct cleaning scams by various companies that took advantage of unsuspecting consumers. The undercover investigation by Chris Hansen in conjunction with NADCA exposed unscrupulous air duct cleaners using bait and switch tactics to take advantage of customers.
If you still have doubts look to the number one search engine Google. If you “Google” Air Duct Cleaning Scams, you will be surprised by the overwhelming number of results that you will find.
If you have already fallen to the hand of an air duct cleaning scam- Pringle Mega-Vac can help! If you can provide a copy of a scam artists work order with the additional costs added then we will give you an extra 15% off your residential air duct cleaning!
Do We Video Duct Before and After Cleaning?
This is a good question and I have been asked it many times by customers primarily because they are concerned about being “scammed” by a duct cleaner. Yes, there are unethical duct cleaners in this business. It is critical to ask a cleaner about his licensing, insurance, education and you should most certainly ask about the equipment which he uses.
We normally do not videotape the duct cleaning jobs that we do. Quite simply it is very time consuming and someone has to pay for that time. The average home has 400 feet of duct work in it. It could take hours to make a video of all those lines. I am aware that some companies do regularly offer this “service”. Please be leery of this; often they show a customer a video of a duct before and then the same duct after they supposedly cleaned it but the video in question isn’t actually of that customer’s home.
At Pringle MegaVac-our service technicians will be happy to show you the inside of your dirty duct. In order to properly clean an HVAC system an access hole (sometimes several) will be cut in the trunk line of your ductwork. Our Power Vacuum Trucks each have an eight inch vacuum hose lines so the hole that we cut in your duct work is at least 8 inches in diameter. You can actually LOOK in this hole and truly see the inside of your lines. With a naked eye you can generally see a fifty foot line, with a camera the visibility is very limited (usually 10-15 feet). After we complete the cleaning process our technician would be happy to again have you look in the duct and see the difference for yourself. When he is finished, and when you are finished looking , we thoroughly seal the access hole with a sheet metal patch that is applied with both silicone and metal screws. You are also welcome to look into any of the vents in each of your rooms, both before and after. The technician would be happy to point out a return vent; these are usually much dirtier and you can really see the difference a good cleaning makes.
If after reading this you still feel that you would like to see the inside of a duct with a scoping camera we can accommodate that request. Each of our Power Vacuum Trucks is equipped with a Milwaukee Scope that has it’s own light and we would certainly get that out and show you the inside of a duct.
We are a customer service oriented company and duct cleaning specialists. We have been in business since 1969 and we are here to stay. We will work with your needs and requests.