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09/25/2018

Consumer Protection Warns Consumers: Do Your Homework Before Hiring Anyone for Chimney Cleaning or Repair, Be Aware of Scams

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 – The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is warning consumers to be aware of chimney cleaning scams, and to do research before hiring a chimney cleaner. DCP receives more complaints about home improvement than any other type of complaint each year, and has already received complaints this year about companies calling consumers to offer chimney cleaning services.

 

Here’s what you should do if you need to hire a chimney cleaner:

 

  • Verify that anyone doing work on your home has the proper credential.

    • If someone is only doing chimney cleaning, they don’t require a credential.

    • Anyone doing chimney repair requires a home improvement contractor registration.

    • Anyone installing chimney liners requires a sheet metal license.

  • Ask for recommendations, and hire local. It’s always better to do business with someone you, a friend, or a family has done business with before.

  • Check at least three references, and reviews. Even if a company is recommended by someone you know and trust, it’s important to do your own research.

  • Have a signed contract in writing. Home improvement contractors are required to have a contract with you before starting work.

  • Ask any questions you have about your contract before signing it. Make sure you understand the contract.

 

Know the signs of a scam. The chimney cleaning scam works something like this:

 

Someone calls you unsolicited, and offers you a chimney cleaning deal. Once they’re at your home, they also notice that your “chimney needs repair.” Without giving you time to verify their credentials, or offering you a contract, they make some changes to your chimney, and ask that you pay immediately. Often, consumers find that work is partially done, not done correctly, or not done at all, and they do not recover their money.

 

It may also be a scam if:

 

  • You receive an unsolicited call offering services, especially from an 800 number.

  • You receive an unsolicited call from “your oil company” or “your electric company”, or anyone else who doesn’t specifically identify themselves.

  • Someone uses pressure tactics to try and get you to act immediately.

  • Someone offers a deal that sounds too good to be true.

  • No one offers you a contract.

  • They ask that you pay via cash, wire transfer, prepaid card, or any untraceable form of payment.

 

Consumers who believe they have fallen victim to a scam, or think their contract hasn’t been honored by someone they hired to clean their chimney may contact DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov.

 

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Media Contact:

Lora Rae Anderson

lorarae.anderson@ct.gov

(860) 713-6019 (office)

(860) 247-8711 (cell)


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