Don’t Fall for Chimney Sweep Scams – Louisville KY
The chimney sweep industry is vulnerable to scammers, unfortunately. As a result of the many frauds trying to separate homeowners from their hard-earned money, there is an impact on the industry as a whole. The professionals at Louisville Chimney Sweep & Repair, LLC offer the best in chimney services and offer the following advice on what to watch out for to avoid a chimney sweep scam.
Beware of Too-Good-to-be-True Prices
A legitimate chimney service company can’t offer rock-bottom prices because of expenses involved with providing a professional service. Figure in such costs as payroll, liability insurance, quality equipment, gasoline, certifications, and more.
The average cost of a chimney inspection from a reputable company varies, depending on where you live, but a reasonable average is about $200. It’s a red flag, anytime a price for chimney services is significantly lower or higher than others in the area. One of the most common chimney sweep scams is to reel in a customer with super-low prices. The hook is they later advise you that you need some kind of repair, and then they give you a very high quote for a chimney service they may not even know how to perform. They may tell you that you need a stainless steel liner, for example, and then charge you thousands more than the liner costs.
Verify State Licensing and Certifications
Before choosing a chimney sweep, check to verify that the company or individual you hire has proper licensing in the state where you live. Among professionals in the chimney service industry, the Chimney Sweep Institute of America (IMI) is an excellent credential. Part of a IMI certification is ethical accountability, which ensures that technicians provide fair pricing, professionalism on the job, and courteous customer service.
Membership in the National Chimney Sweep Guild signifies that professionals are dedicated to providing customers with exceptional services, to ensure the safety of their home and family. Members are provided with ongoing education as well as industry-specific publications.
Look for Signs of Validity
Many frauds who take advantage of the unregulated chimney industry travel constantly, from state to state. Check to see if the chimney sweep has a phone book listing or if their truck has professional lettering. Door magnets can easily be removed. Do a search on the Internet about the company and the technician you’ve talk to. What you find should help you come to a more informed conclusion about whether or not to hire someone else.
Don’t Give In to Pressure
Another common strategy of scam artists is to use scare tactics to pressure you into taking immediate action on major repairs, which may not even be needed. Professional chimney sweeps don’t use these tactics, though it is important to let homeowners know about certain risks associated with a damaged chimney, for example. Get a second opinion and different quotes on repairs you may need, if you’ve been subjected to a shady high-pressure pitch. Check references every time; never simply choose the lowest bid, since it could be another tactic of a fraud.
Ask for Show and Tell
Part of the training for most chimney sweeps is to take photographs from the beginning to the completion of a project. Anytime a chimney technician informs you that your chimney needs repairs, ask them to show you or provide evidence with a video or photo obviously taken of your chimney.
Contact Louisville Chimney Sweep & Repair at (502) 410-4019 today, for reliable chimney services.