It may be in the morning, afternoon or even during dinner, but Canadians can’t get through a day without hearing from an Air Duct Cleaning telemarketer.
Shockingly, a number of air duct cleaning businesses are aware of the flood in calls because they actually hired foreign call centers to bring in the business.
In “March 2015, for example, nine companies in the Greater Toronto Area were linked to illegal calls about duct cleaning that contravened telemarketing laws set out by the CRTC, the government agency responsible for rulings related to the Canadian telecommunications industry. Although all nine received hefty fines and were publicly named by the CRTC, the damage they caused to the legitimate duct cleaning industry was significant,” reported The Record.
How it Works
Using the bait and switch tactic, scammers will make cold-calls to customers by spoofing numbers from a variety of numbers that appear to be local. Once they get the customer to pick up the phone, they offer screaming deals on a service that can usually cost up to $300-325 for two hours. The customer is roped in and makes the appointment. However, once the scammer is at their home for the service, they continue to up-sell the victim with extra costs (i.e. disinfectants, pre-washes etc.). The consumer could end up paying at least twice what they were initially quoted.
Unfortunately, this scam has been around for years. Despite many customers signing up for the Do Not Call List, air duct scammers somehow make their way back to consumers’ phones.
How to Protect Yourself
1. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cleaning your air ducts is costly but it’s worth it with a reputable company to get the job done well.
2. Read the fine print before signing any contracts to make sure you know what the work will entail and what will be included in the price.
3. Never share personal information (i.e. social insurance numbers, date of birth, or credit card numbers).
4. If you get an unexpected call and get an uneasy feeling from the sales pitch, hang-up immediately.
5. To help filter unwanted calls, download a caller ID and call blocking app that will help scam calls from getting through to your phone.
Here’s a great example of how air duct cleaning scammers try to threaten and intimidate customers. Jolly Roger Telephone Co. uses an automated robot that is programmed to speak to telemarketers to make them believe they are speaking with a live person. Check it out by clicking on the video below: