What A Rip-Off-Don't be a Victim!
Posted by Dan Nugent on
If you need a service or product and it is the only product/service that the company sells, make sure you see all the red flags. The goal of the representatives sent to you is to empty your wallet into theirs faster than a chocoholic at a fudge factory. And we are trusting. As one client told me "He sat on our couch and spoke so convincing how we would be looked after- what a scum!
Let me explain:
An insulation company: has only a few products to sell.
1) Joe needed his crawl space insulated and the best way he was told, is with spray foam insulation at a cost of $ 8,000. Yes, foam does a good job, but a caulk gun, batt insulation and a well-installed vapour barrier can do the same for probably a quarter of the cost and with minimal difference in energy losses.
Beware of roofers or insulators trying to sell you the few things they have such as more attic venting, mold removal etc. Again, you may need it, but its all they have to sell. Some find a problem, which isn’t, but luckily, they have an expensive solution.
2) Mark and Cheryl noticed the sheathing on his roof had some movement (think of plywood that the roof shingles are nailed to), a roofer convinced them they needed a complete strip down of the roof and rebuild. Here is the rub: that structure had existed in this state for more than 40 years and has seen a few new roof replacements over the decades-it didn’t need to be ‘fixed’ at all. And remember, in our area, anyone can be a roofer that owns a ladder and a hammer. The biggest rip in roofing is when you are given a price for a fraction of the competition-it will cost you big time!
Wet areas that shouldn’t be wet:
June had moisture issues in her crawl space and had a company that specializes in moisture solutions to line the crawl space. It prevents moisture from coming up through the concrete increasing humidity in the space. They installed a lovely system I am guessing for a minimum $ 5,000. But the problem was caused by poor yard grading outside which funnels water over the top of the foundation. The membrane did nothing. But it is the only product the company sells.
Here are my guidelines to prevent being a victim:
1) If you have an issue, call someone you trust who won’t profit from your choice. Ask friends, or better still, hire me (if you don’t mind the crass self-promotion).
2) Get a few trades to come in to look at the issues and hear what they say.
3) If the issue has existed for many years, trouble-free, then it probably doesn’t need to be fixed.
4) DOn't beileve folks on the nighbour facebook page recommending someone- they may not know they were taken, or they are the salesperson's mother.
A salesman has a product to sell, they are not there to solve problems. For many, ‘it’s just good business’ to quote Lord Cutler Beckett in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. To me, it is about ethics pure and simple. If you only care about getting money from someone, that is not good business.
I get pretty steamed up and frustrated, knowing that if I had gotten to the client first, I may have saved them emotional turmoil and money. I always want to come from a place of trust, and it is so upsetting that we have to be on guard.
The very good news is we can change the ‘good business’ practice. This practice is not written in stone.
When facing the dreaded “who do I call?” question, well I know one great guy to get, as soon as his blood pressure is back to normal.