Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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SCAM ALERT: CHIMNEY CLEANING SCAMS

October 25, 2011

Every year, construction fraud complaints are among the most commonly filed with the Oregon Department of Justice. Though always prevalent, construction scams tend to change with the seasons. As the cooler weather approaches, Attorney General John Kroger warns Oregon consumers to be vigilant against chimney cleaning scams.

Common chimney sweep and construction fraud complaints involve aggressive sales tactics, including unsolicited phone calls and door-to-door solicitations. Sales pitches offer services for bargain costs, alarming claims that the consumers' chimneys are in very bad condition and a fire hazard that could cause damage that would cost thousands of dollars to repair.

To avoid common chimney sweep scams, Attorney General Kroger and the Oregon Construction Contractors Board offer the following tips:

  • Check that the contractor has an active license with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.
  • Be wary of hiring a chimney sweep that arrives at your door uninvited. Many home improvement scams take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners using unscrupulous and high pressure door-to-door sales tactics.
  • Be aware of low-ball offers to clean your chimney. This could be a tactic to get their foot in your door with an eye toward performing more expensive repair work. Some scammers claim to provide photos from inside or outside your chimney as evidence repair is necessary. Be sure the photos are actually from your house – look for something in the photo or in the background that identifies it as your home.
  • If a company claims your chimney liner is broken or collapsed and you need a new system either get a second opinion or have them show you where it is broken.
  • Be skeptical of demands for 100% up-front payment. Don't let scare tactics affect your judgment. If you get the feeling that the person offering the service is using terms like "carbon monoxide poisoning" or "house fire" in a way that feels alarming, get a second opinion. This could be a hard sell tactic.

If you think you may have been victimized in a chimney sweep or construction fraud scam, please call the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 877-877-9392, file a Consumer Complaint Form online or contact the Construction Contractors Board at 503-378-4621.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
Consumer Protection Hotline: 1-877-877-9392 Online: www.doj.state.or.us |
Online: www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov |
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