BBB Warns Consumers of Fly-by-Night Duct Cleaners

October 26, 2012

It has come to the attention of the Better Business Bureau, serving Mid-Western and Central Ontario that there is a growing problem with businesses that are offering duct cleaning services.

Consumers have reported receiving constant and harassing telemarketing calls at all times of the day and night. Telemarketers are using very aggressive sales practices to book the appointment and complainants allege that the employees of these duct cleaning services are completely unprofessional. The services received are often improper or incomplete and consumers have advised that these companies will only accept cash or cheque as a form of payment. Any attempt by consumers to contact these companies after the service has been completed, have been unsuccessful. In at least one case, the consumer requested a work order while employees were present in the home. They refused to provide one and when asked to leave, the workers became very aggressive. Fearing for his safety, the consumer threatened to call police. Following this incident the consumer received a letter from a lawyer, claiming to represent the duct cleaning company, advising that there may be legal consequences if the outstanding balance was not paid in full.

It appears the telemarketers may be using various company names and even hijacked phone numbers to disguise themselves when contacting consumers.

Consumers that are receiving these types of harassing, nuisance calls, can file a complaint with the BBB at as well as the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission).

For inquiries, contact Fiona Dunbar at 1-519-579-3084 or

Suggestions for Choosing a Duct Cleaning Service Provider:

Do not assume that all duct cleaning service providers are equally knowledgeable and responsible. Talk to at least three different service providers and get written estimates before deciding whether to have your ducts cleaned. When the service providers come to your home, ask them to show you the contamination that would justify having your ducts cleaned.

Do not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning - such claims are unsubstantiated. Do not hire duct cleaners who recommend duct cleaning as a routine part of your heating and cooling system maintenance.

Beware of advertising that offers what seem to be extremely low prices for air duct cleaning. Often, these ads are used by businesses expecting to sell additional services once they get inside your home.

Do not allow the use of chemical biocides or chemical treatments unless you fully understand the pros and the cons.

Check references to be sure other customers were satisfied and did not experience any problems with their heating and cooling system after cleaning.

Interview potential service providers to ensure they are experienced in duct cleaning and have worked on systems like yours; they will use procedures to protect you, your pets, and your home from contamination; and they comply with NADCA's (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) air duct cleaning standards.

Ask the service provider whether they hold any relevant provincial licenses and insurance.

If the service provider charges by the hour, request an estimate of the number of hours or days the job will take, and find out whether there will be interruptions in the work. Make sure the duct cleaner you choose will provide a written agreement outlining the total cost and scope of the job before work begins.

Check with your local BBB at to determine if complaints have been lodged against any of the companies you are considering.

Try to have a friend or family member with you during a scheduled appointment with a salesman or service technician. If that is not possible and you feel threatened or intimidated during the visit, ask the person or persons to leave your home immediately. If they refuse or hesitate, call police.