You may be planning to get your carpets or rugs cleaned for holiday parties and guests. With so many companies to choose from and advertised prices that run the gamut, you want to be sure you get your money's worth and don't run into problems.
One fellow who filed a complaint with us about a carpet cleaner said, "Wrong chemicals were used. I tried numerous times to get them back out. Now the phone number to reach them is disconnected."
Another lady said, "They lost or stole one of my oriental rugs. When I call, they hang up on me."
Another man's experience was equally frustrating. The company did a poor job of restretching his carpets, leaving visible seams; did such a lousy job of cleaning tile and grout that he refused to let them seal it; and knocked an antique clock off his wall, causing $755 in damage. In his response to the complaint, the company owner said the workman who broke the clock was a subcontractor and would have to make his own arrangements to compensate the customer for the damage.
The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for choosing a reputable carpet cleaning company:
Get references from your family, friends and neighbors.
Check out the company's record with the BBB. One of the companies cited above has had an F rating with us for years, yet people continue to use it and encounter problems.
Price does matter, but the lowest price is not always the best price. While no one wants to be overcharged, extremely low prices should set off warning signals. Ask exactly what is included in the price and be sure to get it in writing before the crew begins any work.
Find out what you get for your money. Just as pricing can differ from company to company so can the services included in the price and what the company considers "extras." What type of cleaning agent does the company use and exactly how does it work? Will the cleaning company move furniture and return it to its original location? Is there an extra charge for this service? What about pre-treating spots and heavily soiled areas? Are there extra charges for high traffic areas?
Ask who will actually be coming into your home. Does the company use its own employees or sub-contract the job to someone else? Are they bonded and insured? Who is responsible if the crew damages the carpet or other items in your home?
Find out what care is required after the cleaning. How long will it take to dry? What kind of ventilation is needed?
What if you're not happy with the cleaning? Is your satisfaction guaranteed? Don't rely on oral promises -- get the guarantee in writing.
Pay with a credit card if possible. You might have more recourse if something goes wrong than you would by writing a check or paying cash.
The BBB can provide a roster of accredited carpet cleaning companies.
-- Randy Hutchinson: email@example.com.
Reprinted with permission from The Commercial Appeal.