$99 CHIMNEY SERVICE & FREE INSPECTION SCAMS
At Jamison's Chimney Service, we understand the importance of regular maintenance to keep your fireplace and chimney system functioning properly. That is why we offer comprehensive chimney sweeping, gas appliance services, NFPA Level 2 inspection services, and evidence based reporting with photo documentation and detailed narrative reports.
Every heating season we battle with illegitimate companies flooding our local market with Google listings advertising $99 chimney sweeps or FREE inspections. Last heating season we had over 30 new "virtual" chimney service appear overnight in our service territory. These companies are often call centers or lead generation companies that have little to no industry experience with business models designed to scam local customers. They often utilize uneducated or inexperienced subcontractors to perform local services. They often advertise certifications or industry affiliations of which the subcontractors are not licensed or certified, or approved to utilize. Many of the sub-contractor's they employ operate unchecked without accountability and provide sub-par services (below industry standard practices aka. binocular inspections, improper cleanings, or no inspection report given). Once onsite, many scammers use methods to entrap or bait customer, inflate repairs that may or may not be needed, or perform improper services, modifications, and repairs which actually increase the risk of a chimney fire (improper service and gross negligence). This is an industry wide problem, not just a local issue.
We are contacted on a daily basis by lead generation companies asking us to perform services on their behalf at greatly reduced rates which would undermine our own legitimate services. We are also contacted on a daily basis by local customers that have horror stories to share after they have been recently victimized and are still in need of help (for those that know they have been victimized).
In an effort to protect members of our community from being victimized by these scammer companies we have the following recommendations:
1. Read business reviews on Google, Bing, or Yelp (Not on business website). Local Google reviews are often more accurate and up to date than business websites. Illegitimate businesses can manufacture positive reviews, falsely advertise, and manipulate reviews directly on webpages they control.
2. Don't click on sponsored Google listings (Use organic search results or Google Maps instead). Sponsored ads are paid advertisements that many call centers utilize to beat local provider listings by paying to "crowd" them out and push legitimate services lower in the search results. These paid advertisements are often manipulated with false information and artificially low pricing (Click bait).
3. Check the following sites for chimney service companies and industry professionals registered to do business in your area. Most scammer companies are virtual and are not even licensed to do business in the state of IL. Search the industry links below for legitimate service companies. These individuals and companies have obtained appropriate industry training, exhibited the knowledge to earn national certifications, and often represent the legitimate service companies operating in your region. Check all of the links to find the best providers in your region (Or hire us the first time.. hint hint).
4. Report the Abuse. Leave reviews on Facebook, Google, Bing, or Yelp listings to warn the general public of 'bad actors "operating in your area; File a complaint with Google; the BBB (Better Business Bureau; and the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Each complaint has the power to put a stop to the abuse and force the bad actors to be accountable for their actions.