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HVAC Duct Cleaning Part One: The Nationwide Rampant Scams Targeting Dryer Vent & HVAC Duct Cleaning Industries

Since the launch of my business in 2019 I have consistently through these short years have heard from customers time and time again about companies they had hired to clean either their dryer vent &/ or whole house duct system. In case you weren’t aware, if you’re in the Sunshine State of Florida, the state actually requires an HVAC Mechanical License from my understanding to perform HVAC Duct cleaning – but not dryer vent cleaning.

We’ve heard mainly two different stories from our customers. One common theme we hear is that the customer did in fact hire a local company that actually has a Google Business Listing & is a genuine business but, in many of these case the company wasn’t properly equipped with the credentials the state wants (a HVAC license) and in all these complaints we’ve been told by the customer they doubted the work was done correctly based off what they experienced (and paid, although unfortunately many people will gravitate towards finding cheap service rather than doing due diligence and gravitate towards looking are reviews and doing just some basic research) & the reason why they called us was because there dryer vent problems didn’t go away or gotten worse after the company came and gone.

While the other common theme we hear is that they were straight scammed by a company and they either made some nominal downpayment and the company never showed or an individual showed up was there for an hour, claimed the job was completed, got paid and left. Unfortunately there’s a rampant scam that oddly enough is targeting the industry of air duct cleaning and dryer vent cleaning and it’s certainly prevalent here in Brevard County.

I have consistently first hand seen scam ads in numerous Brevard County local Facebook groups offering “specials” for “whole house duct cleaning”. These Scams never or rarely ever include any of their business information in their posts (to include phone number or business name) and will say, “if you’re interested comment and we will PM you”. Almost always the “special” they are advertising for an entire house is $300-500 and they are happy to include the dryer vent for “free”. Folks, you will NOT find a reputable HVAC Duct Cleaning company to clean your entire house for anything less than $600-$1000. So, this should be your first red flag if it’s a “special” for $400 or less for an entire house. To clean all the ducts in a standard one-story house it’ll take minimum 3-4 hours using specialized equipment & (likely) having two people on site getting the work completed.

Additionally, when you ask these people and press them for a telephone number of business name, when you google the information they give you, the number they provide has little to no history when you do a simple google search (another red flag) and when they provide a name & or website it’s something generic like “USA Duct Cleaning” and the website is as generic as you can get (another red flag!) Google isn’t perfect that’s for sure but they have a fairly difficult verification process for businesses to go through when a business wants a Google Business Listening. If a business doesn’t have a google business listing, in my opinion that’s another red flag. In my opinion a Google Business Listing is as important if not more important than a website.

Some of these scammers (see above screenshots) are even using tactics that are you stir the emotions of the reader by stating things like, “My wife & I’s small business is in dire need of appointments, we are running a great special…” trying to appeal to your feelings and emotions while others frame their statement as if they just moved into the community or even YOUR neighborhood claiming to be members of your neighborhood or community attempting to obtain your trust. See the below screenshots showing this.

It was brought to my attention (see above picture) by a customer of mine who didn’t realize he was talking to one of these scammers on Facebook & as my customer was asking questions, one of which was, what’s the name of your business (because again they almost always never reference it in their posts on Facebook) and the person replied “Nate’s Dryer Vent Cleaning”. He took a screenshot and reached out to me to directly inquire if we provided that service – in which I told him no. Perhaps He & I should’ve went along with the scammer’s game to see if the scammer would reach out to me about duct cleaning for this person’s house, we’ll never know. When I told Brevard County Sheriff’s Office about the fraud, they unfortunately couldn’t do much they said unless there was a transaction and even then they are in a reactive situation. I posed the idea of setting of this scammer to potentially arrest on the spot. See above screenshot from my customer which shows the scammer claiming he represented Nate’s Dryer Vent Cleaning.

A well-known YouTuber caught wind of this national scam and did some hands-down FANTASTIC investigating on these scams and found out these scams are largely based overseas. From what I’ve learned these scammers overseas book appointments and will sell the jobs/ leads to essentially desperate people who either don’t run a legit business or perhaps they do but not too successful or well-liked (and usually for good reason). I’ve messed around with these scams enough myself that I’ve booked appointments and have spoken to the real local or semi-local people who will come out and they are absolutely clueless about the scam, they don’t realize (or at least it seems they don’t) the game they are apart of.

I was featured in a blog by “The Viera Mom”, a local Brevard County resident blogger who owns Viera Social Media, about all of this about a year back who had also heard about all of this and wanted to help spread the word and help raise awareness about this all since the facebook scams are so prevalent. I’ve even been informed by one customer who didn’t realize this was initially a scam that the person whom he was getting information from went so far to use the Nate’s Dryer Vent Cleaning brand name which is why he texted me. He texted me asking if we now offered HVAC Duct cleaning in which I responded “No sir!” and that’s when he filled me in and sent the screenshot you see below.

The Orlando based news outlet Eyewitness News WFTV recently ran a story on this as recently as October of 2023 where a Winter Spring person was unfortunately scammed. This is definitely not the first local story about this.

As a result of personally being apart of several dryer vent networks I have personally met at training events solid & honest men and women whom own and operate reputable Air Duct cleaning companies, some of which is here in Florida (not here on the Space Coast) and others around the States. The Air Duct Cleaning industry is a legit industry that sometimes needs to be done. I don’t necessarily recommend an Air Duct Cleaning company to also clean your dryer vents. When it comes to companies I point people towards, I personally only recommend dryer vent companies to people (local or not) so as long as they provide the complete service that dryer manufacturers’ recommend, which is cleaning both the dryer vent AND taking apart the dryer whether minimally or fully to clean the interior of the machine.

In saying that, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) Where you can find out more information on the ins and out of duct cleaning, duct cleaning standards & the various methods. Additionally you can use their search tool to find a reputable company that’s a member and affiliated with them. A business that’s a member of NADCA must follow their ethics, standards & guidelines – in a similar way Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians like us do by way of the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

I hope that in some way shape or form this blog helps prevent just one person from having a terrible experience with a company or from getting scammed. If you have a story you’d like to share please comment below or send me an email, with your permission or any insights given I’d certainly entertain updating this blog post for that added value for our readers.

We go the extra mile for our customers and even people whom call out of state who may need or want a recommendation for dryer vent companies I will go out of my way and tap into my network to see if I can provide them a solid recommendation. Our Part Two of this article will include one or more interviews with Duct Cleaning companies in hopes of not only answering FAQ’s but also empowering you on what questions to ask, etc when shopping for a company.

Picture of Nathan Cox

Nathan Cox

Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Nathan Cox is a veteran and owner of Nate's Dryer Vent Cleaning serving Brevard County Florida and surrounding areas. Learn more about us and our services here.

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