Angie's List - Beware of Chimney Scams

Angie's List - Beware of Chimney Scams »Play Video

Gary Coffman is a homeowner who hired a company to rebuild his chimney. Only after the repair did he find out that the man who did the work was never paid by the company.

The company’s address was bogus and its phone number didn’t work. Coffman said he felt like he had been taken advantage of.

“We were lucky in the fact that we did get a good chimney out of the deal, but what ended up happening was the poor guy who did it, who spent well over 20 hours on the job, didn’t end up getting paid.”

Experts at Angie’s List, a nationwide ratings service, say Coffman is not alone. In fact, 11-percent of Angie’s List responders say they’ve had at least one negative experience with a chimney contractor.

Having your chimney cleaned is a must-do, so Angie’s List put together some tips to help you make sure you avoid Coffman’s fate.

Angie Hicks, creator of Angie’s List, says, “Get multiple estimates before you have any work done. The average chimney cleaning and inspection cost about $150. And don’t be fooled by prices that sound too good to be true.”

Hicks also offers the following four checkpoints for chimney service:

  • Get multiple estimates.
  • Check the contractor’s credentials
  • Make sure the company is insured and/or bonded.
  • Scope out a snapshot: If a contractor recommends extensive repairs, they should be able to provide photo or video images of the problems. Make sure the images are actually of your home.

Angie’s List also warns that consumers should be wary of anyone who pressures you to act immediately.