If you have a fireplace in your house, you must be well aware of the importance of a chimney. Even though they can last decades under perfect conditions but sometimes, will need repairs and replacements as well. However, considering the frauds out there, people often remain confused about what to do when considering chimney repair. So, let’s discuss some important tips that will help you keep scammers at bay.
Avoid Unsolicited Phone Calls
Chimney repair frauds usually start over phone calls or door-to-door campaigns. You might have come across self-proclaimed chimney experts visiting different neighborhoods, offering their services at cheap rates. Unfortunately, this practice is even prevalent today.
If you were to invite them over, they will inspect your chimney and firepalce and not only quote a ridiculous repair cost but also present a catastrophic condition of your chimney. They will most likely blackmail you into thinking that the situation is something serious and will make things worse if you did act right away.
To prevent being scammed by such individuals, you should never provide them with a deposit unless you have secured or acquired their official business name and legitimacy. Plus, you should ask around and make sure the services are authentic.
Look For Certification
In addition to avoiding phone calls and door-to-door campaigns, you should look for certifications as well. This is yet another great way of making sure that the individual offering your services is a reliable source. Just like other professions, chimney experts also go through several certifications and accreditation until they can qualify as professionals.
For instance, the Chimney Safety Institute of America makes sure that their qualified businesses and individuals meet industry standards and are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills required. Furthermore, the institute works on a non-profit status, which means it does not issue certifications for direct payments. Therefore, if a contractor does not have the certification, you should beware.
Beware Of High-Stakes Sales Tactics
If you notice that the contractor is trying to rush you into getting the job done, you should put your foot down on the brakes. Scare tactics and high-pressure tactics are used by scammers all around the world to trigger nervousness and panic amongst customers. And the bad news is that the majority falls into the trap. You should always get a second opinion from another reputable business. A professional will always keep your best interest in mind rather than skimming money off you.
Knowledge Is Power
This is perhaps the best tip we can offer you. Having the right information and knowledge can save you hundreds of dollars spent on frauds out there. One of the most common problems with chimney repairs is that people are not equipped with sufficient knowledge or the basics.
This gives the scams an upper hand knowing that you will buy into whatever they have to sell. However, if you conduct some research online before calling someone to fix your chimney, you would at least be at the same level as them if not more. As a result, you are less likely to be ripped off as the summer will find it hard to sell you something that is not even there.
Check The References
Before you can finalize a company or an individual, you should check the references. It might be that there are several complaints lodged against them. It is not necessary for a business to have positive reviews all the time but they will at least make sure that their customers are heard.
Although word of mouth is something considered vintage in today’s marketing world but still holds a lot of value. Try to find a friend or family member who has worked closely with the business and get their opinion.
Ask Your Social Circle For Recommendations
Sometimes, finding the right person is just as easy as asking someone close. Your friend or family member might have someone in hand that is reputable enough for you to acquire their services. So, you should always begin by asking your social circle, you might end up saving days of effort and search.
In the end, avoiding chimney repair fraud is easy if you were to follow the tips mentioned above. Make sure you go through the references, ask around in your social circle, and take your time when it comes to finding the right chimney contractors Columbia MD for the right job.