We’ve all heard about the gutter scam… haven’t we? It works like this: Workmen come to your door, telling you they are in the area offering services such as gutter cleaning, garden maintenance, and roofing. And often imply it was your trusted neighbours who called them in. Every day of the year, nefarious individuals pedal a variation of the above story and use clever gutter cleaning scams designed to get money from homeowners for little to no work.
Their schemes rely on the notion that most people hate the task of repairing or cleaning their gutters and will be willing to entertain someone who can handle these irritating chores for a reasonable fee. Just as everything that glitters isn’t gold, every offer to clean your gutters isn’t legit. Read on to learn a few simple, but effective ways you can avoid gutter cleaning scams.
Always say NO to on-the-spot hawkers
If someone approaches you via door-to-door sales looking to provide on-the-spot gutter cleaning, you should just say no. Undoubtedly, they were not “just in the neighbourhood”. In fact, they probably came as part of an organised gang in a minibus. Don’t be concerned with offending them and let them know you’re not interested.
Don’t pay up front
No reputable gutter repair or gutter cleaning company will ever ask you to pay for their services in full before they begin the job. While a deposit is okay, if someone asks you to pay entirely for a service before the work is completed, it’s likely they’re running a gutter cleaning scam or gutter repair scam.
Never let strangers in your home
This. Is. Important. If a contractor is cleaning your gutters — attached to your roof — why would they need access to your home? If a contractor you do not know asks to enter your home, you should always say no.
Some may even come up with clever excuses like needing to use your phone or “inspecting” your gutters for internal leaks. Unless you’ve had previous dealings with the gutter cleaner, you should never – ever let them into your home.
Prior to starting any work on your home, you should always do your checks. Simply get the name of the contractor and look them up on the web, assuming you’re online. They obviously know many oldies do not use smart technology and prey on this sector for good reason. Check their website, reviews, customer testimonials, and make sure they have a physical address and phone number that is actually answered by the company. If they fail these basic tests, it probably a scam.
Gutter scams are usually time-sensitive on-the-day unbeatable deals
Many gutter cleaning scams are based on time sensitive deals that are unbelievably great value. The scammers seek to create a sense of urgency to make you feel as if you need to decide immediately. It’s a common tactic used by hard-sell salespeople. Even if it is a legitimate deal, it’s probably not that good.
Check their ID
Before allowing anyone to do work on your home, always ask to see their company details. Check with the council if they are registered as a Trusted Trader and check at Companies House to see their trading records.
Insured for safety
The contractor should always have the appropriate insurance. Roof and gutter cleaning are very dangerous jobs, and the contractor will need insurance to protect you in the event someone is injured. If anyone has an accident while working on your home and the contractor doesn’t have insurance, you could be left with a hefty duty of care liability.
Before you accept a verbal quote it’s imperative to get a written agreement. Most gutter cleaning scam artists will become aggressive when you ask for a written quote on headed paper. Even if they’re able to create a quotation, you should wait 48 hours before signing the agreement, and give yourself time to ensure the contractor is legitimate.
Trust your gut
If in doubt simply walk away. If you instinctively feel something’s not right, don’t agree to anything. It’s okay to walk away. It’s your home and it’s your money.
Contact BN Drainage
The most effective way to avoid gutter scams is to employ a trusted supplier. BN Drainage has been helping homeowners with property maintenance for years and has a bank of solid independent reviews for our guttering services. We are fully accredited with CHAS, IOSH and Nebosh. If you are in any doubt about your gutters, please call us for a chat first. Don’t pay first and check later!