Carpet Cleaning – Bait and Switch

A wise man once said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” and nowhere is this adage more useful than in the highly competitive world of professional carpet cleaning. In an effort to maximize their advertising budget and make more profits, many unscrupulous carpet cleaning companies use “bait and switch” tactics to try and squeeze your hard-earned money out of you. While it is important to take care of your investment in your home, it is also important to understand and recognize when a “professional” carpet cleaner is trying to take advantage of you.

What is bait and switch Why is it deceptive?

– Bait and switch. As the name implies, many carpet cleaning companies use this tactic to try to “sell” you certain services that are not included in the advertised prices. For example, if a carpet cleaning company’s advertisement promises a price of $9.95 per room for a “basic deep steam cleaning,” you can expect a basic deep steam cleaning. This means that for $9.95, the company will only “treat” your carpet with hot water, no chemicals or detergents, and won’t even vacuum before they start.

Higher bill than expectation

If you are unfortunate enough to have one of these companies in your home, you will undoubtedly be inundated with “extra” services such as “expert stain removal”, “flea and tick treatment”, “deep steam shampooing treatment”. Even worse, some carpet cleaning companies perform their services and only charge you after the cleaning, resulting in a much higher bill than expected. When you leave your apartment or home, a reduced schedule may require you to pay for carpet cleaning.

Demo cleaning

– “Demonstration cleaning” is another way carpet cleaning companies scam you out of your money. In this case, the company comes to your home and offers to “demonstrate” their cleaning services. They usually choose a spot in the middle of the room and show you the effectiveness of their carpet cleaning method. The technician may even clean several areas of your carpet to show you how expensive “extras” can make your carpet even cleaner. However, if you choose NOT to pay for their services, you will end up with clean spots in the middle of the room. In most cases, at this point, customers choose to have the company clean the entire room or house and pay for the service out of their own pocket.

How can you protect yourself from these unfair practices?

Below are some tips to help you navigate the stressful world of selling carpet cleaning services:

Research about cleaning company

– Do your research. Spend some time on the carpet cleaning company’s website. Check to see if they have any reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, or positive reviews on their Facebook page. If the company has had a lot of negative reviews and comments in the past, leave them alone.

Check registration of company

– Check to see if the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC). In most cases, companies that invest in these relationships and certifications have been around long enough to establish industry best practices.

Confirm the cleaning package price

– Spend time on the phone with the company. Ask what exactly is included in the price you are quoted. If they can’t give you an estimate or a consistent price, ask why. If they say they have to “see” your home before they can give you a price, be wary. Carpet cleaning is not rocket science, and if they are a reputable company that has been around long enough, they can give you a price over the phone.

Before cleaning make sure there is no hidden charges

– When the carpet cleaner arrives at your home, you should discuss the price or invoice with them before they start working. This will help you avoid “overcharges” and “hidden fees” later on. If they don’t agree with the price you were given on the phone, don’t hesitate to ask them to leave and find someone else.

Remember, these companies are here to serve YOU. Don’t be afraid to listen to that voice in your head. If you feel uncomfortable with one company, move on to the next. And if you think the offer is too good to be true… Well, it probably is…

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