I wanted to have our carpets steam cleaned (no detergent) and started making calls last week. I called three different companies to get phone quotes. One company was a rec from a friend, one was an ad in the newspaper and one was a name I knew but found on the internet.
I asked a lot of questions on the phones, and I thought I knew most of the ways the companies will trick you such as:
Larger rooms not counting toward the deals
Extra charge for moving heavy furniture
Extra charges to get out stains
Stairs costing extra
I asked a bunch of questions of each company and spent extra time on the phone with the company I was going to use.
I actually chose the most expensive quote because it was still reasonable and I felt like the other two were so much less that I knew I was either going to get a sub-par job or prices would be raised when they showed up.
I talked with the company rep on the phone about pet stains and she said there was no guarantee they could get them out but they would try. No mention of an extra charge to do so.
We also talked about that they would move furniture such as couches, tables and desks but for extremely heavy furniture there would be an extra $25 charge per room. I told her I knew we would need that for my room and suspected for the dining room and Walsh’s room.
So first off the guy was late. I called when they were 30 minutes late. The guy called back 15 minutes later saying they were on their way. When they finally arrived they were one hour and a half late. (Michael had left with the kids at the 30-minute late mark.)
The lateness was not a good sign but I was willing to overlook that. So then I asked him to walk around the house and tell me which rooms he thought there would be the extra $25 furniture charge. He said all of them. (That would be more.)
Then he told that when they went to clean the pet stains they would need to treat it with a chemical to prevent it from smelling. The chemical would cost an extra $180.
In the course of walking around for five minutes in my house, the bill to clean my carpets has now doubled from $305 to $610.
I argued with the guy why hadn’t the woman on the phone told me about these things. She didn’t say anything about the extra charge for the chemical and acted like the furniture charge was only for excessive weight not just to move any furniture.
So after calling Michael and thinking about it for a few minutes, I told the guy I was cancelling the appointment and asked him to leave. He was flabbergasted and was talking fast trying to keep the business but never backed off of all the up charges.
The woman I originally talked to on the phone called yesterday to find out what happened. She was very apologetic. She seemed most concerned that they were an hour and a half late. She said he should have moved most of the furniture without the extra charge and that based on my description on the phone she didn’t think I needed the extra pet chemical. She offered to come back out and do it for the original price she quoted. I told her while I appreciated her call and the apology, I wouldn’t be doing business with their company.
I wish I had consulted Kudzu.com and asked friends on Facebook and I probably could have avoided this entire mess.
So what have your experiences been with local carpet cleaners? What other pitfalls are there to try to avoid? Which companies have you been very happy with? Which companies followed through with what they quoted on the phone – price and service?
What would you have done in my situation when the price doubled?