BBB: Duck these duct-cleaning schemes

Consumer Reports News: July 15, 2010 02:40 PM

Prices that sound too good to be true.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about increased activity among deceptive air duct cleaners. The tactics are similar to what we reported in “ Scam alert: Avoid ‘dirty’ duct cleaners.” Companies blast neighborhoods with low-ball ads in newspapers and flyers, then sell homeowners on pricier services, often under the threat of bogus health risks.    
“Most of us aren’t experts when it comes to maintaining the mechanical components of our house and we have to rely on the opinion of the technician,” said BBB spokesperson Alison Southwick in the news release. “Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of that trust by misleading customers and even lying about having a serious mold problem.

One outfit in particular, operating under the names Pure Kleen, Priority One Air Solutions, and United Restoration, has received numerous complaints from around the country, despite being slapped with cease and desist orders by several state attorneys general.

Be on the lookout for scams from this and other dubious duct cleaners. Cut-rate offers are a good warning sign, since reputable companies charge $400 to $1,000 to clean the ducts in a typical 2,000-square-foot house. And keep in mind that the best way to keep the air clean in your home is minimize indoor pollutants, for example by banning smoking and using outdoor-venting fans in your bathrooms and kitchen.

Coming soon: Look for our reviews of the latest air cleaners in the September 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, online and on newsstands August 3. In the meantime, read our free buying guide to air cleaners and see what people are saying about indoor air quality on our forums. 

Daniel DiClerico


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