Buyer Beware of Phone Chimney Sweep Offers
We have all gotten those phone calls that offer deals that just sound too good to be true right? Well, the Chimney Sweep industry is plagued with more than our share of unscrupulous solicitors ready to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.
Typically the caller identifies themselves as being from a “sound-alike” company near you and say something like “We are going to be offering specials in your area over the next week for chimney cleaning at a very reasonable price”. For instance, we had one of these scams using our real name and they were actually calling our customers! From our customers point of view they may have assumed that we were just calling to make sure they had their annual inspection and cleaning scheduled. Thankfully, none of our customers fell for the imitation calls.
Check out this investigative report done by WPRI exposing some scammers in Attleboro, MA recently. This problem runs across state lines with many out of state companies taking advantage of CT residents with inflated and fraudulent estimates for completely unnecessary work.
By calling huge numbers of people, they will always find some folks that are looking for a “deal” and appointments are made. Many times the individuals that come to do the work at your home are not CSIA certified chimney sweeps, and some are not even trained in the industry at all – they are just trained to empty your wallet! So, if you get off easy you will end up with an inferior or cursory inspection and cleaning.
Unfortunately, many unsuspecting customers get convinced into doing more work that they are told is “absolutely neccessary”. When the impostor chimney technician presents the homeowner with the “bad news”, that their chimney needs repairs and is unsafe to operate – many pull out their checkbooks and allow these crooks to steal money from them. Yes, you guessed it – once the check is taken, the chimney company disappears with the money and is never heard from again.