Don’t you hate it when an unscrupulous company scams you out of your hard-earned money?
Boy, that carpet cleaning coupon you just received in the mail or your local newspaper sounds like a good deal. The carpet cleaner claims they’ll clean an entire house of carpeting for next to nothing, and on top of that, it’ll be the most professional carpet cleaning you’ve ever seen! SCAM ALERT!
Watch this ABC News undercover video on how carpet cleaning scams work. Click Here
Scammers are more common than most of us would hope. Although most businesses are honest, you can usually find deceitful people in any industry, carpet cleaners included.
You’ve all seen the ads. Carpet cleaning for just $12.95 or less a room. Wow – that super-low discount just can’t be beaten! I better keep this coupon and call them today!
How To Avoid The Bait and Switch
Bait and switch is common practice with unscrupulous carpet cleaning companies; it’s one of the most often used scams. It begins with company advertising prices that are so much lower than any competitors’ that it will always seem like a too good of a deal to pass up. But if you take a step back and give it a second glance, you’ll notice there MUST be a reason why the price is so low. The low price is the bait, and it looks mighty appetizing.
Avoid getting hooked by asking qualifying questions. If you feel like you’re not getting direct answers about their cleaning process or how they price their services, it should throw up a couple of red flags.
The truth about low prices is that the company is either cutting corners somewhere (inadequate equipment, no liability or workers compensation insurance, ineffective cleaning solutions, or unskilled employees) or looking to fool you with the switch.
The Way They Pull This Carpet Cleaning Scam Off Might Surprise You
The second half of this scam happens once you’ve agreed on the phone with the coupon price and the cleaner shows up for your appointment.
There are several common excuses that scammers tend to use, but ultimately, they will make a point to say that you need more done than what’s covered in the coupon price.
These excuses will go something like:
- You have a particular type of carpet that requires a more involved cleaning method.
- Your rooms are over 100 square feet each
- Your carpet stains are “extra stubborn” and require expensive spotting products.
- The price costs more for “Deep Cleaning” or your carpets are heavily soiled, and the basic service won’t work.
- The price quoted was only for traffic lanes, so cleaning the entire room costs more.
- They are adding service charges, soap charges, equipment charges, etc.
- Your rooms are odd shapes or too big, so it costs more.
- Any other previously un-discussed charges that show up out of nowhere.
- Their pricing is for “steam cleaning.” If you want them to use detergents, that’s extra.
The problems with these carpet cleaning scams start to occur when you refuse to pay the additional add-ons. Opting only to pay the ‘introductory’ or “coupon” price will force these scammers to resort to their ‘Basic’ service that will essentially be the equivalent of only spraying water on your carpets. In the end, you’ll be paying for a service that leaves your carpets no cleaner than when the swindlers arrived.
If you find yourself in this situation, refuse the service. You can’t win when you’re dealing with dishonest companies. Also, keep in mind that you can protect yourself beforehand by doing some digging to find certified companies with good reviews on multiple review platforms.
The Oh-No Guarantee
XYZ Carpet Cleaners show up at your house and seem to be in a hurry. They fire up their machine, give your carpet a quick once-over, and then come to you for payment. Of course, you pick out a few trouble areas that look like they need a little more work, but the cleaners tell you that “their soap is still fighting the stains and the carpet will look like new before long.”
Now, you know deep down that those stains aren’t just going to disappear on their own after your carpet dries, but the cleaners are going to try to put your mind at ease. They’ll tell you that if the stains are still there in a few days, you can call them and they’ll come back. Sounds fair enough. After all, some tough stains need a few passes to remove, right?
So a few days go by, and just as expected, the stains haven’t disappeared. You decide you’ll take them up on their offer and have them come back as they promised. Good luck with that!
They either won’t show up, say the spots are permanent, or say the stains are fresh and charge you again for a half-baked attempt to remove them.
How to Avoid Professional Carpet Cleaning Scams
Don’t become another victim of shady or dishonest carpet cleaners. The best way to protect yourself from these scammers is to research companies online and always ask questions.
Price alone should not be a reason to choose a carpet cleaning company. That’s where many people fall into carpet cleaning scams because they believe that “a carpet cleaner is a carpet cleaner.” If a carpet cleaner is as cheap as they claim to be, you have to wonder where they are cutting costs.
Not every company uses the same techniques, cleaning solutions, skilled technicians, and equipment, and most are not industry certified and have bad reviews you can discover by going online.
Check websites such as Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and Google. In the end, check for the three R’s – Reputation, Reviews, and a Real 100% Satisfaction Guarantees.
Some Good Questions to Ask Before Booking an Appointment
- Are you certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute and the IICRC? If not, what type of formal training and certification do you have?
- Is your company covered with Liability Insurance AND Workers Compensation?
- Where can I find online consumer reviews for your company?
- Are your employee’s background checked on an annual basis?
- Can you explain your cleaning process and everything that’s included for that price?
- How long does it usually take for the carpet to dry after you leave?
- What are your guarantees, and are they in writing?
Tru-Clean Surface Care is a Certified Partner with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the International Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI). In addition, we are A+ Rated with the Better Business Bureau and a seven-year-in-a-row-winner of the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award. We offer a thoroughly exhaustive carpet cleaning that exceeds manufacturer and industry requirements. Our cleaning solutions are allergen-free and safe for pets and infants.
Before inviting “just anybody” into your home based on the cheapest deal, you can find, do your homework. The adage, “you get what you pay for” is correct.
For more information about Tru-Clean Surface Care and the services we offer, please visit us online at www.TruCleanSurfaceCare.com or “call us on the carpet” anytime at 239-541-4888 – Cape Coral and Lee County, 239-206-1935 – Bonita Springs, Naples and Marco Island, or 941-621-2198 – Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte Florida.
You can also visit us on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/TruCleanSurfaceCareFL