Unfortunately, a chimney sweep scam happens everyday. There are 2 types of scams working now. One is obvious, the other is not obvious. Let’s go over the way less than honest companies rip you off will seeming to be reputable.
First, there is the telephone call or email detailing a chimney sweep “special” with today only or limited time deadlines to create a sense of urgency. Yes, most companies offer an early bird or preseason discount. Most will offer holiday discounts. But, to force a “today only” or this week only is simply a tactic from these folks.
The second type of scam is the overcharge or multiple levels of service and divide and conquer. This tactic breaks up the various tasks of chimney sweeping into multiple “levels” and charges a different price for each one. Inspecting the firebox is a basic level of service. Analyzing the chimney is the “next level of service” for an additional fee. Inspecting the chimney cap and flashing is a top level of service for even more money.
We have seen these fees range from $300 to over $1,000 for EACH SERVICE. The same strategy is used for repairs and fixes. To fix or repair a cap is $800, flashing $400, putting some sealant on the chimney (needed or not) $1,100. The list goes on and on. The bottom line is a quote for $8,000 to $12,000 or the chimney will be condemned and told a risk of fire is almost certain if you continue to use the fireplace.
Here is how to avoid getting ripped off with a chimney sweep scam
What should you look for in a chimney sweep company? Manners and honesty. Remember that “gut” feel we all have about a situation? Trust it. Also, we will give you a fair price for the work and go over each area of concern. We do not have a “level of service” of different parts of the chimney. The chimney works as a whole system. Therefore, we tackle it as a whole system. If not, why bother doing only part of it?
Finally, ask about our 30 point inspection service we include in the Platinum Chimney Sweep. All in one, nothing to hide and we do not force a price increase after a period of time.