Beware of Whole House Specials

21mmx whole house special

Lately we’ve been hearing more and more complaints about “whole house specials” and reading about them on the internet too. Whole house specials are advertised in the Toronto area for anywhere from $99.00 to $120.00 or $130.00. It just depends where you look.

Bait and Switch is a common rip-off tactic that has been around for many years and it is also being used by some duct cleaners in our area as well. They lead you to believe that you are going to get the ducts in your entire home professionally cleaned for only $120.00, but of course, once they are in your home they hit you with all kinds of stories, extras and price increases. That $120 can easily turn into a bill of over $500.

These are the same people who quite often refer to themselves on the internet as “industry leaders”, and clearly misrepresent themselves by saying they have been in business for X number of years when that is not true. Anyone can say what they want on their website to make themselves sound better than they really are, and we’ve been noticing an increase in that type of behaviour recently. It’s almost criminal really, and there should be a way for the legitimate companies in their respective industries to report such deliberate misinformation when they see it. The internet is a good thing, but unfortunately it is also another way for some people to lie to you without doing it right to your face.

Here is an example of an advertised “whole house special” that was being used in the U.S. The owner was eventually forced to stop using this truly misleading advertising, because no one ever did get their ducts cleaned for the low price he was advertising.

Air duct cleaning special

Any company who really thought of themselves as being an industry leader would not use such tactics because what they are doing is hurting the industry not helping it.

There are, unfortunately, some scam duct cleaning companies in the Toronto Area, but there are also many honest people too. If you are considering having your air ducts cleaned, there are some ways that you can protect yourself:

DO NOT shop only by price. Always ask what is and what is not included. Ask them how long the job will take. If they will be in your home for only half an hour, then it is very unlikely that you will get a quality job.

When they do arrive at your home, and before they get started, ask them to figure out your final bill so you can get your payment prepared ahead of time. If its going to add up to more than the advertised special then send them on their way.

You should not have to pay extra for additional hook-ups, or for cleaning of the fan or air conditioning coil. These items are part of your whole house.

If it turns out that your furnace is in a crawlspace or in an attic, then any company would be justified in asking for more money. Other legitimate extras include the cleaning of your dryer exhaust duct, or any deodorizer or sanitizer if that was not part of the deal. This is optional anyway. Not everyone needs it.

Often times, the scammers will try to push a furnace package for something like $159.00 extra, and they say this includes the whole furnace… the fan, the coil, everything. But when asked several times SPECIFICALLY if that includes the cleaning and safety inspection of the gas part of the furnace, then guess what? That part is not included. You will probably have to keep asking until they give you a yes or no answer.

Not just anyone is allowed to clean the gas part of your furnace, even if they are a duct cleaner. You must be a licensed gas fitter to do this, and all qualified gas fitters have a license that they should have with them. It looks similar to the old blue Ontario drivers licenses and does not have photo ID on it. You are perfectly within your rights to ask to see this before you let anyone work on your furnace.

If you want a good job done in your home, then the bottom line here is stop looking for the cheapest possible price and do a bit of homework too while you’re on the phone. Get more than one estimate, and ignore anyone who tells you they have a whole house special.

After all, you were expecting to get a duct cleaning job done rather than an in-home wallet cleaning service weren’t you?

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