From a press release:
“Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has released a consumer alert video regarding deceptive practices by air duct cleaning services. This Consumer Alert Air Duct Scams Video warns consumers about coupon-based air duct cleaning firms that engage in deceptive marketing by promoting misleadingly low prices, making unsubstantiated health claims and up-selling additional services.
The video highlights a two-step “deceptive dance” prevalent in this industry. First, coupon-based air duct cleaning firms typically gain access to a consumer’s home by advertising that they can provide a service at an extremely low cost, and then attempt to scare a consumer into purchasing hundreds or thousands of dollars of additional services by representing that dangerous conditions are present in the ducts.
The video also highlights other problems with the coupon-based air duct cleaning industry:
- Services may not be needed in most residential homes
- Contracts typically fail to comply with Maryland’s door-to-door sales act, and
- Services are not being performed properly; or with the proper license
“Most of these firms do not even disclose their business address on their coupons and receipts,” said OCP Director Eric Friedman. “The coupon-based air duct cleaning industry has been the subject of national and local television news hidden-camera reports, yet consumers continue to file complaints with our office year after year.”
The video refers to information provided by Washington Consumer’s CHECKBOOK Magazine, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It also advises that a license from the Maryland Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration would be needed to provide certain services to a consumer’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system. Consumers should contact OCP with any questions or complaints.