How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Carpet Cleaning Companies

“Bait and switch” definition


“A sales tactic in which a bargain-priced item is used to attract customers who are then encouraged to purchase a more expensive similar item”.   (See the CBS News Video at the end of this article)

Bait and Switch” is used in many aspects of the service and sales industry. Whether it’s automobile commercials or sales ads for your local appliance stores, it’s a practice the public deals with daily. Many unethical carpet cleaning companies would have you believe you can have your carpets cleaned for next to nothing by advertising unbelievable prices to “Bait” you into inviting them into your home.  Once you let them through the front door, here comes the “Switch.”

Although having your carpets professionally maintained on a regular basis can double the life of your carpeting, improve indoor air quality and save you money, the process of professional carpet cleaning itself requires very expensive equipment used by certified and experienced personnel. Below we have listed a few tactics that are commonly used in the carpet cleaning industry in order to get a foot in your door.

 1. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons….

We see them in our newspapers and mailboxes every single day. Although coupons are a great marketing tool, watch out for those that seem too good to be true.

If a coupon is offering to clean your whole house or several rooms for one low price, beware. The price usually represents the minimum amount they will charge for undersized rooms. Sometimes it doesn’t even include the detergent. Have a large room or a carpet that’s actually dirty? Well, that will cost you more!

Another trick low-ball carpet cleaners like to use in their “coupon deals” is to offer a certain number of rooms for a set price.  There’s nothing wrong with this UNLESS they limit the room size to 150-200 sq. ft. per room.  Many master bedrooms and living rooms are more than 200 sq. ft. and the carpet cleaner will “sock it to you” for the additional square footage for room.    You should demand a room size of 300 square feet as this will cover 90% of the rooms in the average SW Florida home.

2. Dual Process Cleaning

Many companies will bait consumers with a low price over the phone, only to try and sell them on a more expensive dual process cleaning when they arrive to your home.

The ploy is:  You can get their basic cleaning for the price quoted on the phone, or you can get their “Super Duper Deluxe Cleaning” for a price that is probably nowhere near the original estimate. When calling for estimates, be sure to ask if they offer different cleaning packages and the prices of each. They’ll often be called something like “Our Clean, Cleaner, and Cleanest Packages”. I guess the idea is, if you don’t pay them what they want, they’re only going to, “kind of” clean your carpet. A good carpet cleaner will do a deluxe job for every customer, not just those that give in to pressure tactics.

3. Free Carpet Protector

Stain resistors and fabric protectors such as Scotchgard™, Bane-Guard™, Sta-Clene® and Dupont Teflon® are a great way to be sure your carpets maintain their appearance after a professional cleaning.

However, they are not cheap. Currently, a gallon of professional grade Scotchgard costs over $100.00.

Beware when a carpet cleaner is trying to bait you with a promise of free Scotchguard. It’s very unlikely they would just give it away, which means they’re probably just spraying water. Some cleaners will even try to convince you that the Scotchguard is in their cleaning solution. Protectors can only be effective if applied after the cleaning. Fabric protectors should cost anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per square foot. If a carpet cleaner insists he is giving it to you for free, ask them to let you watch them mix it and see what their reaction is.

Fortunately, there are several honest, professional carpet cleaners around to choose from. Just be sure to ask some basic questions. All businesses need to turn a profit to operate, so consider that when you’re being sold on an unrealistic price. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true…….it is!

Tru-Clean is a family owned environmentally responsible carpet, tile, Oriental wool rug and upholstery cleaning company serving all of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Estero, Bonita Springs, Naples, Sanibel, Pine Island, Marco Island, Fort Myers Beach, Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers.

At Tru-Clean our technicians are certified by the world’s most respected certification body for textile professionals and we are an “A” rated company with Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau.

For more information on our company or to schedule a FREE estimate please visit us online at or call us any time at 239-541-4888 – Lee County, 239-206-1935 – Collier County or 941-621-2198 – Punta Gorda.

To protect yourself please watch this CBS News undercover sting operation: