Your Better Business Bureau recently received a report of a company posing as a legitimate and BBB accredited business. The report to BBB Scam Tracker came from a Boise-area man who said he received a coupon for a Boise Air Duct Cleaning, but after hiring the company from the contact information on the coupon, he soon learned it was actually an imposter posing as the real business.
The victim said the imposters did a poor job and left the majority of the vents and ducts untouched. He paid them by check and after realizing they didn’t complete the job, he contacted Boise Air Duct Cleaning. That’s when he discovered the workers had been impersonating the business. He learned Boise Air Duct Cleaning does not offer coupons and did not send anyone to his home to do work. Unfortunately for the customer, the fraudulent company had already cashed his check.
We have received additional reports of another company robocalling customers using the name Boise Air Duct Cleaning. The robocall refers consumers to call another phone number whereby consumers are scheduled for air duct cleaning services. Consumers report they are not aware of who they’ve hired. All they know is that business is not related to Boise Air Duct Cleaning.
Boise Air Duct Cleaning is a legitimate and BBB accredited business.
Unfortunately, it’s common for scammers to target legitimate businesses with a trustworthy record. As winter turns to spring, BBB Northwest & Pacific expects home improvement scams to increase, causing headaches for homeowners and legitimate contractors. Since the first of the year, general contractors have had more than 72,000 inquiries in the Northwest and Pacific region, and more than 2,600 searches in Idaho. Scammers are hoping to capitalize on this interest by finding a way to ways to con consumers and contractors out of money.
In 2017, there were nearly 350 home improvement scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker across the United States, resulting in more than $600,000 lost. While these scams typically target homeowners, contractors who hire subcontractors to help with their work can be just as vulnerable.
To find a trustworthy business near you, BBB suggests the following hiring tips:
▪ Check out licenses. Be sure to check if the business is properly licensed in your state. It’s also important that any business working on your home is properly insured. BBB Accredited Businesses are required to be licensed and registered depending on their state requirements. Find a trustworthy local business by searching for contractors with the BBB App at bbbapp.org.
▪ Ask for references. Request at least two or three references from the business’s last few jobs and ask questions about the quality of work, if it was within budget, on time and to the customer’s satisfaction.
▪ Get multiple estimates. Before accepting an estimate, get at least three bids or quotes in writing. Don’t feel pressured to go with the lowest bid, as it might reflect the quality of materials or work.
To avoid losing money, look out for these red flags:
▪ The contractor doesn’t have a permit. A building permit is required for most construction and remodeling projects to ensure the work will be done to code. Any reputable contractor will get all necessary permits for the job and won’t try to persuade you to do it yourself.
▪ Door-to-door contractor. If you come across a contractor going door-to-door selling their services and telling you they’ve got extra materials, it’s usually a red flag. You may end up with a low-quality job.
For more information on finding a business, you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Veronica Craker, veronica.craker@ thebbb.org, is the content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific. To check a business or report a scam, go to bbb.org or call 208-342-4649.