is a fact of consumer life, from "will you have
fries with that?" at the drive-thru to the credit
card promotion at the department store cash register.
when it comes to home services, how can you tell the
difference between a worthwhile recommendation and a
pitch you should ditch?
answer revolves around one word: trust. Do you trust
your plumbing, electrical, carpet-cleaning or other
members say that when theyíve hired well-rated
companies, especially ones theyíve worked with before,
they experience recommendations about additional
products and services more as education than upselling.
homeowner told us he braced for a hard sell after a
garage door technician found more than just a broken
spring. The customer was relieved that he got no
pressure and that the repair pro took the time to show
him the worn areas. Seeing was believing, and the
consumer opted to pay for additional repairs.
homeowner said he appreciated his plumberís suggestion
to replace a 15-year-old commode with a model that had
more features than the original. The customer conducted
his own online research and concluded that the more
expensive toilet did, indeed, better suit his needs.
are some ways to feel confident about evaluating service
provider proposals to spend more than you planned:
Seek multiple estimates from contractors who have
positive reputations and are appropriately licensed and
Make sure you understand whatís being proposed, and
why. A reputable contractor should be willing to take
time to explain everything, not simply push you to make
a quick decision. If youíre told to replace your main
sewer line, for instance, require video proof of the
problem, and be certain the images are of your system.
Donít hesitate to ask questions, do research and take
the time you need to make a decision.
Never forget that itís your money. Itís your home.
Donít be afraid to say no.
When scheduling cleaning or routine maintenance work,
make sure you understand what the typical service
includes. For instance, with carpet cleaning, it may
cost $3 a step or more to clean a staircase. Special
treatments may be required for stubborn stains.
Be wary of "free" home analyses, which may be
thinly disguised sales pitches that will end up costing
Be especially suspicious of anyone who uses scare
tactics or insists you must get the service or product