Don't Be Fooled
A Common Advertising trick used by Bait and Switch carpet Cleaners Goes Something like this;
Don't fall for it.
Tell Mel: Lee County carpet cleaner resorts to trick
Melanie Payne • email@example.com • April 16
Marian Dragonette thought the coupons she found for carpet cleaning were a good deal. Horizon Cleaning Service advertised steam cleaning of five carpeted rooms for $34.75 and any size room for $6.95 with a two-room minimum.
Dragonette called the company and asked how much it would cost to clean four rooms and a small rug.
She was quoted a price of $36.
Dragonette called back twice to be sure because, she said, the price seemed too good to be true.
I know, this story should stop right here. Dragonette should have hung up the phone and called another company. Because when something sounds too good to be true, it’s almost always a lie.
Instead, Dragonette arranged to have her carpets cleaned on a morning when her husband was out doing volunteer work.
Two men arrived at her home off McGregor Boulevard. One did the cleaning and; the other said he was there “to learn.”
He got an education, all right. Because after cleaning the living room carpet, the technician (Nick was the name on the receipt) told Dragonette she needed to pay $375 to get all the carpets cleaned.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, I called three times and she said it would be $36,’” Dragonette told him.
Nick responded: “No. No. I had to do a deep scrubbing.”
Dragonette said she didn’t need or request a deep scrubbing. The couple don’t have pets or children in the house and the carpets aren’t soiled.
Dragonette, 84 and alone with two strangers, felt frightened and intimidated.
“I wanted them to leave,” she said. “But I owed them some money because he had cleaned the living room.”
Nick dropped the price to $275, which Dragonette still refused to pay. Finally she agreed to $125.
Then Nick told Dragonette she had to give him $3 cash for gas. Dragonette gave it to him, the men finished the job in less than 30 minutes and left.
I called Horizon, asked for the owner or manager, identified myself as a reporter and spoke to a woman named “C.J.” She wouldn’t give me her last name, and after talking to me, said I couldn’t quote her. So I won’t. I’ll just tell you what she said.
Nick demonstrated the deep scrub method and Dragonette must have said that’s what she wanted, C.J. explained. And, according to C.J., there is a trip charge of $2.95 for gas when a technician makes a trip to a house.
Bill Labus, the manager of M&M Carpet Cleaners in Cape Coral, didn’t have a problem giving me his name, or the name of the company owner, Jeff Bramwell, when I called to ask how much it costs to clean four rooms of carpet.
He estimated between $85 to $135, depending on how soiled the carpets are.
Labus said he has seen companies advertise for a lot cheaper, but they can’t do a good job for that price.
Bramwell has been cleaning carpets in Lee and Collier counties since the 1970s, Labus said.
“The only reason he’s been in business that long is he’s fair to people and (does) a good job,” he said.
So here’s my advice: Beware of companies advertising low-ball prices. They are using the ad to get a salesman into your home so he can trick, cajole or pressure you into spending more money.
And even if you get them to stick to the price, you won’t be satisfied with the service.
Either way, you’re going to lose.
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