As a homeowner, having to deal with any kind of maintenance or repair service can expose you to scams. Scammers rely on your need to have a clean and safe chimney to get you to hire them. If you have neglected your chimney for a while, you might be in a hurry to get it done before the winter season. This delay might make it difficult to get an appointment. So this will make you an easy target for scams.
This kind of desperation can put you and your family at risk. The Better Business Bureau sees many cases each year where homeowners fall victim to chimney cleaning frauds. In some instances, they take deposits to perform the work at a later date, then they never show up. Sometimes individuals show up wearing official looking uniforms, offering low prices on inspections and repairs. It is easy for some people to get taken in by these supposed bargains. In the end though, the ‘chimney sweep’ gets paid and the chimney is in the same state that it was before.
Unfortunately, in these cases, the Better Business Bureau, and similar agencies will not be able to provide much help. Since these are not registered chimney sweep, there is no recourse for homeowners who got scammed. Sadly, many people prefer to avoid the hassle of making police reports to deal with the scammers.
Protecting Yourself from Scams
Typically, a chimney cleaning lasts for roughly 30 to 45 minutes. A scammer will be looking to move on to the next target quickly, so this should be a red flag. Beware any chimney sweep who asks to borrow equipment like a ladder or broom. Any professional in this field will have all the tools necessary to do the job.
I will be difficult for you to inspect your own chimney, but if you shine a flashlight inside, you should be able to tell if it was actually cleaned. Of course you can avoid having to even worry about this if you ask for credentials upfront. Professional chimney sweeps join organizations and they will provide this information without hesitation.
Treat the hiring of a chimney sweep the same way you would deal with hiring any other type of service provider. Decline the services of anyone who seems overly aggressive, and ask for a few references. Talk to friends and neighbors in your area about their experiences with their chimney sweeps. True professionals have no trouble creating a solid base of satisfied customers.
The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are well-trained and highly certified. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep in Drexel Hill or the surrounding areas. We will help ensure that your chimney is ready to face the quickly-approaching winter season without issue. Make sure you check out our video about avoiding chimney scams from NBC 10 News.