Bait and Switch

When you call to get your ducts cleaned, do you really know who’s showing up?


Duct cleaning is a necessary part of home ownership. Over time, HVAC systems become a haven for dust, allergens, and even dust mites, pollen, and mold spores.

Having your ducts clean can result in an immediate improvement in air quality, and even a noticeable difference in quality of life for allergy sufferers. For some, heat and air conditioning use can even decline due to an increase in air flow.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every 3 to 5 years, but some owners may want to do it more often, depending on lifestyle habits, including indoor pets, smoking, etc.

Unfortunately, while there are many reputable, and experienced businesses, such as Moldbusters, who are certified with state licenses, and specifically, Mold Remediation Licenses, there are some businesses who prey upon an unsuspecting public, and seniors in particular.

According to the Better Business Bureau, it’s a scam called a “bait and switch,” and the BBB says it’s happening all across the country. The BBB claims that there are actually dozens of connected companies involved in the scam. These companies have been systematically ripping off homeowners for more than a decade to the tune of millions of dollars.

Over the years, the BBB has been bombarded with hundreds of similar complaints about the scam. Victims say that the service techs get in with a sweet promise:

Full house duct cleaning for only $49.99.

This should be the first red flag. While a real duct cleaning isn’t astronomically expensive, it can take over 4 hours, and will definitely cost more than $49.99. Once the technician gets inside, they will routinely mislead them into paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for additional work. Many were told they had dangerous mold. Others had their homes unnecessarily flooded with noxious chemicals. Some said they were afraid of the workmen. All said they were duped into paying hundreds more than the promised $49.99 advertised price.

How can you know if you need your ducts cleaned? These tips can help:

A few indicators that your air ducts and/or furnace require cleaning:

  • When you constantly find dust on your furniture.
  • After cleaning, there is still dust floating around the house.
  • You find it more difficult to sleep; you experience headaches, increased tendency to snore, congestion, or sinus problems.
  • Rooms in your house have little or no air flow from the vents.
  • You are constantly getting sick or are experiencing more allergies than usual.
  • Musty or stale odor comes from the air ducts vents.


If you see these problems in your home, before calling a technician, remember!

  • Check them out with the BBB.
  • If you suspect mold, or are worried about it, make sure that the people who come to your home are licensed though the state for Mold Remediation.
  • A real duct cleaning company will come to your home, do an inspection, and THEN give you a price for the work.

Following these tips can help to keep your home and ducts clean, and your bank account safe from duct cleaning scammers!

Check out some of these videos to know what to look out for!