Scams. We hear alot about them. But could we recognize it if someone tried to pull one of us? 

a diamond yellow sign saying "scam alert" surrounded by dollar billsThis is a worthy question. In the chimney industry, we’re concerned about scammers because we know our clients rely on us for professional services that help preserve the longevity and health of their chimney systems.

We also know that it could be difficult for a homeowner to know if a scam has been perpetrated in their home, leaving their system vulnerable to deterioration, breakdowns, and blockages – all of which the homeowner thought had been addressed. After all, some parts of the average chimney can be difficult to access and inspect – that’s why you hire a pro to do it!

If you can notice a few common factors among chimney scams, you’ll go a long way in protecting yourself against them. So be on the defense against those who might want to take advantage of you.

Always Trust a Pro

Keep in mind, too, that the flip side of a good defense is a solid offense. In this case, you can take up the offensive against scammers by doing due diligence in hiring your chimney professional. Be proactive about checking the legitimacy and reputation of anyone you’re considering hiring.

This may sound challenging, but we’re here to help! Read on for some common elements of scams and for tips on hiring a reputable chimney sweep technician.

What Are Common Chimney Scams?

Unusually Low-Price Offers

You get an advertisement on your door, a phone call, or even an in-person visitor offering a price on an inspection or sweeping that’s way below typical prices in the industry.

Why is it a scam?

This may be a scam because fraudsters are known to use ultra-low prices as a way to hook you in. They then get more of your money by adding other charges as they work by “discovering” many problems they overcharge to treat – or by taking a deposit for further work in the future then skipping out with no plans to return.

“Act Now” Offers

Act now! There’s a “pro” who happens to be in the neighborhood, and they’ll give you a discounted inspection right now because they have time between jobs. Or maybe a company is running a special, but today is the last day to act. Or your supposed pro has noticed a problem with your chimney from the street and has extra material on the truck and is able to address its needs right this moment.

Why is it a scam?

If you’re being pressured to act immediately, there’s probably a reason that the person pressuring you doesn’t want you to think too hard about what you’re being told. If you stepped away to research the service provider, the services they say you need, or the prices they’re quoting, you may not be happy with what you’d find.

Scare Tactics

You’re putting your home and family in jeopardy unless you act now.

Why is it a scam?

This is a counterpart of the “act now” scam, with the added element of using scare tactics. Yes, chimney safety is very important and some issues can present dangers – which is why a legitimate technician may bring them up and will be happy to answer your questions and be able to provide photo documentation. But if the person uses high pressure tactics to manipulate you into acting without thinking it is probably a scammer.

Lies About Damage

The damage is extensive.

Why is it a scam?

It may not be. But be sure to ask for evidence that any costly, extensive repairs are needed and guarantee that the company has legitimate credentials. And don’t be afraid to receive a quote for the work, then get another professional opinion and quote, as well – particularly if neither you nor anyone else you know personally has ever worked with the company before.

No Credentials

The person who wants to work for you can’t produce any evidence of certification.

Why is it a scam?

Anyone can call themselves a chimney sweep with some tools and business license, but you want to know the person you hire will actually be able to do the work required. Certification with a reputable agency means there’s a standard of accountability for skill, education, and ethics that goes beyond mere (potentially empty) claims.

Recognizing a Qualified Chimney Technician

Let’s take a look at how to recognize a good, reliable industry professional.

CSIA logo✓ They’re certified. Certification with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the right place to start. The CSIA is a well-established non-profit run by a board of industry efforts which is known for rigor in testing. Also, the CSIA requires recertification every three years, so if a technician is CSIA certified you’ll know their industry knowledge is current.

✓ They have satisfied customers. What do the company’s online reviews look like, and how do they respond to negative reviews? Do they have a strong client base that appears satisfied with their professionalism and skill over time?

✓ They carry insurance. A company that isn’t insured is not prioritizing your protection. A reliable company will be fully insured.

✓ They look professional. How do their signage and printed materials look? Do their personnel carry identification? Are their company vehicles marked? Is their website professional? Do they only have a P.O. box, or do they have a known physical address? These things are all indicators of a business’s legitimacy.

Our Techs Check All the Boxes

If you have questions or are searching for a chimney professional in the Milwaukee area, don’t hesitate to reach out. When you do your research, you’ll find we check all the boxes, and our dedication to customer service will be evident in our interactions with you. We’re committed to integrity and safety above all else.

Call or reach out online now to get started.