This week, I am going to inform you of one of the most under-reported home maintenance scams you may face. Gutter cleaning is a task often hired out, because the home owner has either a fear of heights, lack of a proper sized ladder, is physically unable to work at higher heights, or simply does not have the time to perform the task.
As such, when hiring a company to clean your gutters, it is important for you to ensure the job has been completely done. The primary reason you hear little dialogue about this issue, is because most gutter cleaning rip-offs go undetected. Thus, the practice goes unreported. Seldom, if ever do you hear the BBB (Better Business Bureau) offer foolproof advice on this subject matter.
Now, I will inform you as to how gutter cleaning scams work. The scammers will clean several feet from each downspout, as well as make sure the downspout itself is unobstructed. This ensures that when you check your downspouts during a rain or melting situation you will see water running out. This leaves (yes, pun intended) you to believe your gutters were properly cleaned. The other things that scammers do, is that they will only clean your gutters to a level just below the top edge. Thus, from the ground their lack of cleaning goes undetected. Another trick they use is that they will thoroughly clean gutters that can be viewed from dormer or other higher windows.
To ensure you do not become a victim of this scam, request pictures of all gutter lengths after having been cleaned before paying the contractor. The pictures bring the finished product down to the ground, where you can comfortably view the work you are about to pay for.
The benefit of using gutters is debatable. However, if you have gutters, the benefit of thoroughly cleaning them is undeniable. If a contractor is unwilling to provide you with pictures of the gutters cleaned out, then you may want to consider not hiring that contractor. If the contractors’ intent is to fully clean your gutters, finished photos will not be an issue.