It’s a fact. We all want to get a good deal. Unfortunately that desire to get the most value for your dollar increases the likelihood that you’ll be a victim of bait and switch; an ugly practice that is unethical and in some cases illegal.
The most common bait and switch tactic is to advertise an irresistibly low price for a product or service. That’s the bait. Then when the time comes to deliver, the product is not available or the service will not accomplish what you wanted. Then you are pressured to pay more for an upgraded product or service. That’s the switch.
The carpet cleaning industry has its share of unscrupulous operators who employ this tactic. How can you protect yourself and your friends? Of course, you don’t have to worry about bait and switch when Bluegreen cleans your carpet, but the following information applies to all services that you might hire.
In most cases you can identify potential bait and switch practices by watching for the following red flags.
RED FLAG #1: The price. We have seen coupon prices as low as $5.95 per room or $99 to clean a whole house of carpet, regardless of size. How they can afford to work so cheaply? What do we have to invest in order to properly clean your carpet?
We have to have the right equipment. That costs thousands of dollars. We need a trained, experienced technician. Good, dependable, sober, clean-cut, polite workers cost more and they’re worth it.
You need safe, environmentally friendly cleaning agents. Quality products cost more than the harsh, cheap chemicals used by low quality companies.
We need a dependable service vehicle to get to the job. Driving will cost more than a few dollars in fuel. Don’t forget about vehicle payments, insurance, taxes, and maintenance.
We need time. To properly clean a 3 bedroom house with living room, dining room, hall and stairs will take at least a couple of hours. Add in drive time, setup and prep, and you have a minimum of 3-4 hours.
So at $99 to properly clean a house of carpet, it is impossible to make a profit. In fact, the company would lose money unless they cut corners. This means they must pressure you into spending more. If you don’t pay the extra price you get a quick, lousy job.
RED FLAG #2: The fine print. Remember, “The large print giveth, the small print taketh away.” In a typical carpet cleaning bait and switch ad, the small print will often have phrases like, “…heavily soiled carpet may require additional cleaning” or, “…this method for carpets that are properly maintained…” or other phrases to give them wiggle room to get you to spend more money to actually get your carpet clean.
RED FLAG #3: A weak guarantee. Here is a typical guarantee from a low-price carpet cleaner. “If you are not satisfied with our recommended service, we will come back and clean the areas again at no charge.”
In other words, if you only use the coupon deal and not the “recommended service” (extra charge) there is no guarantee! And if you do use the “recommended” service, and are not satisfied they will come back out and clean again at no charge. How generous! Will they refund your money? Not likely. At least not without a fight. A weak guarantee is no guarantee at all. And if it is not a money-back guarantee, what good is it?
Bluegreen never uses bait and switch tactics. We believe in doing a great job at a fair price every time for every customer. There are no hidden charges. We guarantee that you will be absolutely thrilled, or your cleaning is free. No fine print required.