The Kansas City Better Business Bureau began looking into the advertising practices of local air duct cleaning companies. Around the same time, the BBB of Sacramento finished an in-depth year long investigation of the same industry. We began researching complaints against air duct cleaning companies that advertised inexpensive cleanings, offering specials for as little as $39.95. In the Kansas City Area, one can expect to pay a few hundred dollars, but no where near as low $40 to $80.
Ward Holman, owner/operator of Air Vision Duct Cleaning of KC, an A+ rated BBB Accredited Business and three-time Angie's List Super Service Award winner, has heard so many stories about these companies that his website states: "I'll tell you why there's no such thing as a $59 duct cleaning--even on a small home!" We called Holman and asked why there is no such thing and, in the end, it's pretty simple.
"Because they can't make any money," Holman says. "They stay in business because the coupon looks pretty good. Eighteen vents for this price and the homeowner only has nineteen vents. It can't be that much more...A guy starts touring the house, does a quick inspection and they always find mold." Mold is uncommon, but not unheard of, in air ducts. "They seem to find it on every job," Holman says. "They start adding up prices and suddenly it costs $575. The homeowner says something about the cost and the guy says he'll call his boss...he tells the homeowner that the 'boss' says he'll do it for $475. I'm not saying a house can't get big enough to cost $500, but not every job."
If an Air Duct cleaning company finds mold and increases the price by a few hundred percent, get skeptical. If you are concerned about mold, you can contact a laboratory to do a proper test for mold. On site air duct cleaners are not equipped to determine if your ducts are actually infested with mold. Their equipment can only tell, at best, if mold spores are in the air. Mold spores are virtually always in the air, which makes the test irrelevant.
The best way to combat bait and switch advertising is to check up on any company you might do business with. For a list of BBB Accredited Air Duct Cleaners, click HERE.