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How to Avoid Duct Cleaning Frauds in the Windsor-Essex Region
Although duct cleaning is an important part of home maintenance, duct cleaning fraud is a serious issue in the Windsor-Essex Region. These “Blow & Go” operations have caused confusion for our customers in the past. To ease the confusion, we decided to provide written information that will aid any homeowner looking to hire a duct cleaning service. We’ll discuss;
- What duct cleaning fraud is.
- How duct cleaning fraud affects your home and wallet.
- How to avoid duct cleaning fraud when hiring a duct cleaning service.
What Is Duct Cleaning Fraud?
In short, duct cleaning fraud is when a business or individual claim to provide a duct cleaning service but uses wrongful or criminal deception to take your money.
To protect our customers and other homeowners, we investigated their operations in the Windsor-Essex Region. Often originating from the Toronto Region, the average “Blow & Go” begins by purchasing some cheap equipment (a used shop vac and maybe a truck). Then they hire an out-of-country call center to begin soliciting people in their homes. Besides the foreign telemarketing, they may post advertisements on Kijiji or send direct mail offering an unbelievably cheap duct cleaning service. Once they vacuum the return vents they’ll take your money and leave for good.
How Dangerous Can They Be?
Although we found no reports of physical assaults or property thief involving these “Blow & Go” operations, they still pose a significant financial threat. If you mistakenly hire one, you could be in danger of losing up to $5,000 or more! Let’s explore why.
They’re Not an Insured Business.
As you may know, your furnace and central-air unit are likely the most expensive things in your home. In total your HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling) can easily cost over $5,000 and that’s assuming you bought the equipment used. If one of their untrained cohorts breaks a part of your HVAC system you’ll be left with nothing but dust, dirt, and a hefty replacement bill.
Bait and Switch Tactics.
They advertise a dirt-cheap duct cleaning service, but we’ve heard a different story from some of their victims. The allegiantly cheap duct cleaning service is often just a Bait and Switch Tactic. After they finish “duct cleaning”, they’ll add-on extra expenses to your bill (line cost, sanitation spray, etc.). Whoops; you just paid the same price a reputable duct cleaning service would charge, but without the reputable service!
They Have No Real Contact Information.
Once you realize you’re not satisfied with their shoddy workmanship there’s no way to contact them for reparation. In fact, there’s nowhere to write a review to warn others. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is call a reputable business to redo the job properly.
*Warning: “Blow & Go” operations will often use an app like textPlus to spoof multiple phone numbers. These numbers will be disconnected after you pay.
How Can You Avoid A “Blow & Go”?
If you’re searching for a duct cleaning service, and you want to avoid these terrible business practices, I provided some red-flags to look out for in this section. While these red-flags aren’t 100% incriminating, they should awaken your inner cynic, regardless of the industry.
Extremely Low Pricing
Depending on the size of your house, the price of a full-service residential duct cleaning should be around $350 to $500. This is due to the cost of a trained furnace technician and equipment. A proper duct cleaning requires the technician to disassemble and reassemble the furnace – this should only be done by a fully licensed and insured tradesman!
No Reviews or It’s Not Possible to Review
Any respectable duct cleaning service should value their customer’s input. If duct cleaning service claims to have experience then expect to see previous reviews. If there’s no place to leave a review then you should just move on.
No office or Location
If a duct cleaning service doesn’t have an office or it’s not located in the Windsor-Essex Region than they probably have a history of skipping town. Yikes!
No Business Name or Multiple Business Names
This is self-explanatory but if a duct-cleaning service doesn’t have a name or has more than one, run. They’re clearly hiding something.
*Reminder: look for multiple phone numbers.
The Kijiji Test
This is my personal favourite if you’re browsing Kijiji. If you question the legitimacy of a duct cleaning service in the Windsor-Essex Region, click the “View our other listings” button in the upper right-hand corner of the ad. See what other ads the account has posted. Usually, any sly deception in one ad will become blatantly obvious in contrast to their other ads.
I’ve supplied two screen-shots below to further demonstrate some of the red-flags mentioned above. In the image, you’ll see how the same Kijiji Account advertises different prices under different names connected to different phone numbers.
Some Final Words.
As mentioned earlier, duct cleaning is still an important part of home maintenance and has some fantastic benefits such as; reducing your energy bill each month and preventing frequent furnace breakdowns. Hopefully, this guide provided enough useful information to aid you while searching for a duct cleaning service within the Windsor-Essex Region.
By now you should know what duct cleaning fraud is, how dangerous they are for your wallet, and how to avoid them.
We believe picking the right duct cleaning service is about trust. Why else would we offer a free camera HVAC inspection, and guarantee our work? If you are unsatisfied with the job we’ve done, just call the same number we had since 1999 and we’ll redo it for free – that’s simply the Fresh Air Exchange promise.
We would like to encourage you to share this article with your friends and family so they can make educated decisions as well.