How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

It’s sad but there are people who are just out to get your money without providing a service of value. But they would not have as much opportunity if there weren’t individuals who they felt could get something of value for a ridiculously low amount of money. “LET THE BUYER BEWARE” is the old adage that rings true when talking about ‘too good to be true’ prices. If you see an ad for carpet cleaning for say $9.95 per room … Beware! It could be an unscrupulous carpet cleaner or someone who doesn’t know any better and is imitating one.

We call them “Bait and Switch” con artists. The bait is the unbelievable low price. When they get there they demonstrate their double scrub cleaning method, or deluxe cleaning method. That’s the switch, which means that in most cases they won’t pre-spray the traffic areas or work the pre-spray in with a carpet grooming tool unless you pay them extra for it. The “extra” , which should have been included in the initial price, is usually an additional charge of so many dollars or cents per square foot. Now the room you thought you were going to pay $9.95 for has tripled or more and that is before add-ons like carpet protector and deodorizer.

In reality, when you add up the cost of the equipment, van, labor, insurance, advertising and other overheads, it costs the average reputable company over $50.00 just to send someone to your door. And that’s before there is any work done. So how can they clean for that price? They can’t. And if you insist they do what they advertised, they will either leave, try to get a minimum trip charge for coming out, or just lightly clean around the furniture very quickly and you will not get a good job.

What Can You Do?

First of all, don’t be fooled by unbelievably low prices. If the prices look too good to be true, then they probably are.

Ask questions before you invite them to your home. Like:

  1. Are your cleaners employees or subcontractors? (Watch out if they are subcontractors).
  2. What certification does your company and employees have?
  3. What cleaning method does your company use? Please explain it to me. (See methods of Cleaning)
  4. What type of equipment do you use? Portable or truck mounted? If you are using portable what sort of a machine is it?
  5. Are there any extras that you will charge me for or offer me? What are they and how much?
  6. Do you charge a trip charge or mileage charge?
  7. Do you have a written guarantee? What is it?
  8. Can you give me a list of satisfied customers? May I call one or two?
  9. Are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau?
  10. Why should I use your company over any one else. If they can’t answer that question to your satisfaction, do not use them.


  • If they come to your home and do not have a van that has permanent signage on it, then send them away!!
  • If they do not have reasonably clean uniforms with company logos on them, send them away!!
  • Ask to see the inside of their van, if it is a total wreck inside, send them away!!
  • If they bring in dilapidated dirty equipment, send them away!!
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