Have you seen ads in your area for deeply discounted air duct cleaning services? You may have seen them in the local paper or even in your mailbox? Perhaps they have even had an extra incentive for senior citizens? You’re not alone if you’ve seen these types of “too good to be true” ads. As it turns out, more often than not they are exactly that — too good to be true.
These types of scams have been popping up all over the country and they don’t seem to be slowing down. The Better Business Bureau even has a name for them—the “bait and switch” scam. According to the BBB, there are now more than a dozen companies who have been connected with scams like these.
Scamming companies have been seeking out unsuspecting consumer prey, entering their homes through these “amazing” duct cleaning deals, and trying to persuade them into additional maintenance and charges that are completely unnecessary. Many bring up potentially harmful threats, such as mold issues that don’t exist, just to get more money out of the consumer. Those who have contracted these companies have been scammed into paying hundreds and in some cases even thousands of dollars to fix issues that don’t exist.
In recent years, the Better Business Bureau has received hundreds of complaints, all with similar stories of the customer being duped and spending way too much money for services, even though they thought they were getting a great deal from the start.
The bait and switch complaints have become so rampant, in fact, that NBC’s Dateline decided to do a story on the issue. They set up cameras and audio equipment in the homes of elderly individuals who had received similar ads. What followed, as you can expect, fell exactly in line with the repeated issues logged in the BBB complaints. These customers were getting scammed—plain and simple. You can check out the full episode of Dateline with the story at this link.
These stories put a huge exclamation point beside the statement that it is hugely important as a homeowner to understand who you are contracting with when it comes to any home improvement project, especially involving issues of safety and large expense items.
At BelRed, we take these matters extremely serious and treat our customers with the highest levels of respect. We’re always honest and make recommendations not based on getting money from consumers, but based on what’s accurate and in their best interest.Tags: bait and switch, Better Business Bureau, duct cleaning scam, home energy scams, scams