Bargains or Budget Busters
Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews, reports and surveys, and chats with highly rated service professionals, to compile a list of so-called bargains that often end up costing consumers much more time, money and trouble than they expected when they called to take advantage of limited-time bargains.
· Many Angie’s List members have submitted reports saying they were billed extra for costs that weren’t revealed prior to the purchase, overcharged for carpet they didn’t need, and were left with installers, subcontracted out by the carpet retailer, who did substandard work.
· Often these unhappy members responded to advertisements offering whole-house installation from $139 to as low as $37, provided the consumer purchases the carpet from the advertiser. After buying the carpet, the customers found out they’d be charged extra for things like measuring the carpet, moving furniture and removing and hauling away the original carpet.
· A homeowner with an average-sized single family home should expect to spend several hundred dollars or more for a quality installation from a qualified professional.
· While customers who use reliable air duct cleaning companies rave about the results, there's no scientific evidence that regular duct cleaning improves air quality. But even those who doubt what they can’t prove say there’s value in having clean ducts.
· Most unreliable air duct sales pitches have two components: a low, low price and startling information on the dangers your duct work pose to you and your family – especially those with respiratory illnesses. Some even claim special certification for their service.
· Allowing an unqualified contractor to clean your ducts, however, could be worse than never having them cleaned. Particulates could be broken up and released into your home, or your HVAC system could be damaged. Some companies advertise cleanings for as little as $49. A reliable cleaning will cost at least $400, take several hours to accomplish, require more than one worker and involve costly equipment.
Angie’s List Tips for Buying Smart:
1. Do your research: If a stranger comes to door with a product or service sales pitch, don’t act immediately. If you are interested, take the person’s information and do your research to check whether it’s a reliable company. Check Angie’s List and the status of the company’s license, bonding and insurance. Do they provide a local address and phone number?
2. Read the fine print: While the cost for a product or service may seem like a great deal, always read the fine print. Hidden charges and exclusions could affect your decision. It’s a good idea to get three estimates in writing on a product/service before buying.
3. Just say no: Be cautious of any company that uses aggressive or scare tactics in order to get your business.