If your house has a chimney, at some point it's going to need cleaning. But it's also a part of the home that most homeowners are not going to be as knowledgeable about.
The lack of familiarity and the risks of fire allow scam artists to swoop in and take advantage. The Massachusetts Office of
Consumer Affairs has issued a warning, urging homeowners to take steps to avoid becoming victims of sleazy chimney sweeping outfits.
Top of the list of things to beware are solicitations for business, especially door-to-door sales pitches. These are outfits that will often offer a low-ball price and then conjure up a wide array of extra work that you'll need and drive up the price many times the original quote.
If you are interested in getting your chimney cleaned, then seek out a chimney cleaning company. Look for one that has been established in the area and has a local office. Ask friends and relatives whether they've used anyone they could recommend.
Consumer affairs also suggests finding out whether the company is accredited by the
Chimney Safety Institute of America. Use the Better Business Bureau's website to check on the business' complaint history or call the Consumer Affairs office.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com