According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost more than $4 billion to fraud and scams in recent years due to growing fraud in the air duct cleaning industry.
While the fraudulent companies or individuals who initiate HVAC fraud and scams are to blame, lack of consumer awareness continues to further the problem. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) saw this growing issue and decided that it was critical to take action and launched an initiative that seeks to inform the consumer of their rights and responsibilities in combating HVAC scare tactics used by air duct cleaning companies.
NADCA developed a two-pronged approach to dealing with scammers in their industry. First, NADCA developed an anti-fraud task force to combat scammers and fraudulent companies that take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners with their “too good to be true” air duct cleaning services. Next, the organization launched its Breathing Clean consumer awareness campaign, believing that customer awareness and education is a vital part of avoiding HVAC scams.
“Breathing Clean includes free tools that homeowners use when looking to hire an air duct cleaning company,” said Jodi Araujo, CEM, AH’s Vice President of Organizational Development and CEO of NADCA. “The Breathing Clean initiative educates and equips homeowners with the information and confidence they need to ensure that they’re hiring a company they can trust and that the job is being done correctly.”
The Breathing Clean consumer awareness initiative has three goals to help homeowners avoid getting scammed:
- Educate homeowners about the benefits of air duct cleaning services and the importance of hiring a NADCA member company to perform the services.
- Be a resource to homeowners, providing helpful information including tips for hiring a reputable air duct cleaning company and easy-to-understand instructions for making sure the job is done right.
- Provide NADCA members with tools to help communicate with current and potential customers.
A dedicated website was created for the initiative, BreathingClean.com, which includes a blog, FAQ section, and an interactive checklist to help homeowners know what questions to ask when hiring an air duct cleaning company.
“Breathing Clean is the ultimate resource for homeowners,” Araujo said. “In addition to the various interactive materials like videos, graphics, downloadable checklists, there is an easy-to-use directory for homeowners to locate air duct cleaning companies who are NADCA members, within their area.” NADCA also hosts dedicated social media accounts for the Breathing Clean initiative, creating a community and open dialogue for homeowners around the world.
According to Araujo, the Breathing Clean initiative has reached more than 5 million consumers through the various communications channels that NADCA employs. As an ongoing campaign, NADCA has also created and distributed press releases and public service announcement-style videos. In addition, through a partnership with the North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS), the videos have been seen in the homes of millions of Americans.
“Through this partnership with NAPS, NADCA content has been viewed by more than 70 million people through more than 11,200 online articles,” Araujo said. “In addition, the Breathing Clean videos have been aired nearly 400 times and viewed by a combined audience of over 101 million people.”
One Breathing Clean video campaign on Facebook and Instagram had more than 33,000 total impressions with more than 1,200 total link clicks to BreathingClean.com and more than 1,100 unique link clicks to BreathingClean.com.
“These metrics help illustrate the exposure Breathing Clean has received and, in turn, shows the increased awareness of NADCA and its members to the general public,” Araujo said. “For NADCA members, this is crucial. The increased awareness of NADCA and the importance of hiring a reputable company to perform air duct cleaning services leads the way to business growth for NADCA’s members. In fact, in just three months’ time, website traffic to NADCA’s Find a Professional Directory, where homeowners can locate a NADCA member company in their area, increased by nearly 20%.”
NADCA saw a growing problem in their industry, HVAC fraud and scare tactics, and created an initiative that not only helps homeowners who are looking for reliable air duct cleaning companies but increased consumers’ awareness of NADCA and their contractors and the great work that they do for homeowners.