Is my carpet cleaner legit? How to spot a scammer
Just like servicing your car or having your septic tanks checked, getting your carpet and rugs cleaned is one of those tasks you should check off at least once a year – and (unless you’re a pro cleaner, too) you should bring in a professional to help out.
But how do you find a cleaner you can trust?
As you would with a mechanic or anyone else who will be handling your valuable property, it’s important to carefully assess a carpet cleaner before welcoming them into your space. Unfortunately, there are some people out there whose priorities have nothing to do with cleaning your carpets and everything to do with ripping you off.
Luckily, we know exactly how to identify and unravel a carpet cleaning scam. Here, we count down key things to look out for, so you can protect yourself and your home.
1. They don’t remove your area rugs before cleaning
Some carpet cleaners will offer to treat both your carpets and rugs in your home at the same time, using the exact same equipment and products. This is a red flag.
Just as you wouldn’t wash a pure silk shirt in the same load as your running shorts, your carpets and rugs shouldn’t be cleaned using the exact same treatments and processes.
Rugs can be constructed from a bunch different materials and they should be cleaned accordingly. We always recommend a specific process that’s tailored to your rug’s unique makeup, which we carry out using the appropriate equipment at our area rug cleaning facility.
For example, we use a process called ‘tamping’ to shake the dirt out of your rug with industrial equipment, during which we’ll often collect a sandwich-size bag of dust and dirt! This process can’t be replicated inside the home, which is why you shouldn’t trust anyone who says they can professionally clean your rugs without removing them.
2. A salesman gives you an amazingly low quote
It’s the oldest and sneakiest trick in the book – wow someone with a lowball quote, carry out the procedure, and shock them with a huge invoice that contains a ton of extra fees for obscure services.
The old “bait and switch” has made its way into the carpet cleaning industry, and, unfortunately, there are some ‘cleaners’ who have turned this into an art form.
When booking a service, always ask for an upfront breakdown of the cleaning strategy and costs. Make it clear that you don’t want any extra treatments unless you’re consulted first.
A professional cleaner should be able to provide you with a detailed estimate before they touch your floor – see our fair pricing to get an idea of what to expect.
3. There’s no actual ‘cleaning’ involved
We’ve spoken to many customers who have shared horror stories about cleaners who come in, make a big show of running their equipment around, and leave the carpets wet, soggy, and even dirtier than they were in the first place.
When the homeowners asked about the still-visible stains, they were told that it takes a few hours before the product worked its magic. Of course, by the time those few hours were up, the cleaners were long gone and the stains were still there.
This is a frustrating and painful tale that we hear time and time again. Hindsight is always 20/20, and it can be scarily easy to fall into a scam situation.
Safeguard yourself and your home by vetting the cleaning company beforehand – make sure they have clear and respectable certifications (accredited by the Better Business Bureau is a good start). Do a quick online search to find reviews about their services.