Too often unsuspecting consumers who are
lured by specials find themselves victims of bait-and-switch
advertising. They realize, often too late, that these advertised
specials have conditions, either written in small print or not stated at
all. They are often told that "preconditioning" costs extra or that the
carpet is too soiled for normal cleaning at the advertised low price.
Knowing what to expect from a professional carpet
cleaning job is difficult. Varying practices and services offered by
cleaners just add to the carpet cleaning confusion. What is included in
the price? What will cost extra? What are the industry-accepted standard
practices of a professional carpet cleaner?
Having the answers to these questions and just knowing
which questions to ask are essential in avoiding the scam artists when
having your carpet professionally cleaned. Educating the consumer on
what to expect, and demand, from a professional carpet cleaner and
helping to expose unethical practices within the cleaning industry are
major goals of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration
Certification (IlCRC). The IlCRC is a nonprofit certification body that
sets and promotes high standards and technical proficiency within the
cleaning industry. The IlCRC has developed a list of what consumers
should expect from a professional carpet cleaning job.
Cleaning Standard -The professional carpet cleaner
will follow the guidelines as stated in IICRC SOOI-1991 Carpet Cleaning
Trained Technicians -Technicians must be willing to take time to
pre-inspect carpet in all of the areas that need cleaning. They must
identify the carpet's construction and fiber, evaluate individual needs
and recommend an appropriate cleaning method or procedure. The
technician is the key to quality results - not a particular method,
machine or process.
No Hidden Costs - Consumers have the right to expect
itemized services and firm prices before technicians begin each portion
of the work sold. While technicians may offer added services such as
deodorization and carpet protector at an additional cost, consumers
should never feel pressured to accept anything more than the services
they request and authorize.
Safety -All cleaning and specialty agents and equipment used before,
during and after cleaning must be used in strict accordance with
manufacturer's recommendations arid appropriate safety regulations.
Customer Satisfaction - Cleaning firms should offer
workmanship guarantees in writing. Fiber type, carpet construction,
installation and maintenance may present circumstances beyond a cleaning
technician's control; however, responsible workmanship must be implicit
in any work performed. Furniture Moving -Unless clearly specified
otherwise, furniture moving to access and clean carpet underneath should
be considered part of the normal cleaning job. Items such as fish tanks,
waterbeds, loaded china cabinets, computers, or extremely delicate or
fragile furnishings (pianos, antiques) are considered exceptions.
Spotting - Special attention to spots and stains is
included in normal job performance. However, time-consuming specialized
spotting or prolonged effort on color-added spots may incur an
additional charge. Customers should be advised of additional charges
before extensive spotting procedures are undertaken.
Preconditioning - Special treatment with
"preconditioning" agents in heavily-soiled entry and traffic areas
should be included in the cost of cleaning. However, overall job cost
may increase in extreme soiling situations. Consumers should be advised
in advance of the need for such increased charges.
Minimal Drying Time-it is the cleaner's
responsibility, with the consumer s cooperation, to ensure that the
carpet is dried and returned to normal use within a reasonable time
frame. The amount of time required for drying will vary with different
methods, the degree of soiling and the aggressiveness of cleaning.
However, under no circumstances should carpet drying require more than
twenty-four (24) hours with proper ventilation, Again, the consumer's
cooperation in providing continuous airflow and/or ventilation to
expedite drying cannot be over- emphasized.
Thorough Cleaning -There should be no differentiation
between "normal" cleaning and "special" cleaning. Clean is clean. Every
effort must be made to physically remove as much soil as possible from
carpet during cleaning. Further, technicians must take steps to leave
fibers as residue free as possible to prevent accelerated re-soiling.
When trying to save money by taking advantage of carpet cleaning
specials, make sure the specials don't take advantage of you. If you
wish to locate a Certified cleaner in your service area, you may call
the IICRC's toll-free consumer helpline, 1-800-835-4624