Unfortunately in this day and age, there are a lot of scams out there in the world. Quite a few people are trying to take advantage of people and the elderly always seem like the easiest targets because they’re more trusting than they should be for today’s con men and women. There are a few things that you can do in order to make sure that your parents (or yourself) do not fall victim to one of the chimney scams that are happening.
Many times these scammers will call the house or go door to door offering low prices on their services and they make it sound really good. There isn’t a chimney business out there that can do this job for $30, or even for $75. That wouldn’t cover all of their business expenses. If a company is legit, they will not mind if you take their business card and tell them that you will call them to set up an appointment at another time. If the person pressures you, then you can tell that they are either a scammer or not really good at what they do. Once you have their business card, you can check out their business online and see if they are really reputable.
Another way to find out if the person is experienced in this field is to ask to see their CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) or other credentials as well as proof of insurance. Someone who is legal and legitimate won’t have a problem sharing their credentials with you or providing valid references that you can check in your own free time.
One of the things that scam chimney sweeps do is tell you that there is structural damage, a carbon monoxide leak or that you need a new chimney liner. These may all sound believable, especially if you have never had your chimney cleaned before, but many times there is nothing wrong with the chimney. A good way to make sure that something really does need to be replaced is to call another chimney company for a second opinion. If you’re worried about a possible carbon monoxide leak, then you can always call the local fire department to come and check it out.
Never give money to a business before they are there to complete the work. There is a chance that if you pay them, they won’t show up to do the work as promised. And don’t trust a random person who simply shows up at your door one day out of the blue. We aren’t soap salesmen and we aren’t making door-to-door visits for any reason.
There are never any guarantees that you won’t end up being scammed, but if you take some time and do a little research, you should be able to avoid it. Also, remember, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you would like to schedule an appointment for a consultation, chimney inspection, or chimney cleaning with one of our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.