Unfortunately the old “Bait and Switch” scam exists in the carpet cleaning industry and well as many other industries. It’s been around as long as carpet cleaning itself and customers looking to get their carpets cleaned need to beware! A simple job that costs a few quid can end up costing hundreds.
Who is at Risk?
Basically everyone is at risk but the elderly and venerable people are more so. These scam artists are very good at what they do and that doesn’t include carpet cleaning!!! They spin their words carefully and blind the victim with science and scare tactics that does not exist or is total fiction. Trust me when I say they make it so believable.
How Does it Work?
The scammers normally put a flyer through your door with an offer that is too good to be true. It could also be an advert in your local paper as well as on the internet. An example of the Bait could be something like;
Any 5 Carpets Deep Cleaned for Only £50.00
No extra charges. Any Condition. Any Size. Call Now!
Once the criminals are through your door they can apply the switch. Here are some examples;
“I’m sorry Mr Green but your carpets are wool and we need to use a special detergent. The coupon price doesn’t include wool.”
“You have a bad case of carpet mites. If we do not spray insecticide today your carpets will be ruined.”
“You have Berber carpets Mrs Smith. They cannot be wet cleaned. We need to use a special process that is not covered by the coupon price!”
“Your carpets need a pre-clean Mr Jones. If we do not pre-clean then they will be damaged!”
You can bet on one thing. The coupon price doesn’t exist. In all examples the conman will add on loads of £££ or $$$.
How to Avoid these Scams
The simplest way is not to book it in the first place or if you are sucked in simply say “NO” and tell them to leave. If a flyer comes through your letterbox and the offer is too good to be true then trust your instinct and leave well alone. Always ask a carpet cleaner, who gives a quote, is there any other costs and extra charges. Always ask for a total price before they start the work!
Genuine Reasons to Charge More
There are times when a quotation has to be increased. Genuine reasons include incorrect information given by customer, infestations such as carpet moth, beetle and fleas, additional rooms, additions such as rugs, very heavily soiled, thick pile carpets that need extra cleaning, pet stains and odour, etc, etc.
A genuine carpet cleaning company will always discuss additional charges before they start. A genuine carpet cleaner will not pressurise you. A genuine company will understand if you cannot afford the extra charges and leave with no charge.
Do your research people! Bad companies get bad reviews. Just google them before you start. If you have been conned then report them.