Clean your house free! Scam or what?

A good friend of mine got a phone call from a company which claimed to be the “Kirby” company, based about 60 miles from her, and they claimed to be the manufacturer of the Kirby vacuum as well. They offered to clean two rooms of her house free and they’d even move the furniture as needed. They’d charge if she wanted another room cleaned, but it was free for the first two.

Doesn’t sound kosher to me. I can think of many ways this might work – try to sell her an “upgrade” while the boys were starting work, then quit in mid-job if she didn’t sign. Or use the cleaning demo to sell her an expensive vacuum system. The one thing I can’t accept is it is really, totally free with no catch and no hard-sell.

I told her to get their phone number and address, check the caller ID as well, and call the BBB before agreeing to anything, but she seems convinced that this is up-and-up. Any ideas what this is?

Here is a lovely story from someone who used to work for Kirby. Tell your friend to stay far away from them.

Oh, and a story from an elderly couple who were harassed by kirby salesmen. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Bingo. I’ve had two visits from Kirby salesmen, and this is what they do.

Get her a sling, put her arm in it, and tell her to tell the salesman she can’t sign anything with a broken arm. Or, she can be very upfront with them and tell them she has no intention of buying, but they’re welcome to come over and clean.

The vaccuums work, but they’re veeeerrrrrryyyyy expensive.

This seems like a pretty chintzy come-on. Vacuuming two rooms will take what, 20 minutes tops? In return for which you have to let a couple of strangers into your home and doubtless be subjected to a hard-sell sales pitch?

If she lets them in she’s in for a hard sell.

I had a Kirby salesman come to my door several years ago wanting to demonstrate his vacuum. I was a stay at home mom at the time and I was bored, so I let him in. He vacuumed my living room and then wanted to show me the shampooer attachment.

We had carpeting in the bathroom at the time, and a few days earlier my husband and I had both been stricken with a bad case of the screaming twirl-abouts, and the toilet had overflowed, and it was really gross in there. “Do you really want to impress me?” I asked Mr. Kirby Man.

Cheerfully he shampooed my bathroom carpet. It worked really well, too, which made me happy. I applied for financing to buy his vacuum, knowing full well I’d never get it with my crappy credit rating and my no-job-having status, but it made him happy. Win-win all around.

Of course, I’ve never heard from a Kirby salesperson again, but now I live in a house with linoleum in the bathroom and I own my own steam cleaner, so I don’t care.

Many years ago, I “worked” for Kirby for about two weeks. Yes, they’ll try very hard to sell you a vacuum. It’s a decent vacuum, but expensive as hell. They’re very deceptive about their business practices- for one, if you call their office, they won’t say the name of their company.

I had this a few years ago. They did, in fact, clean the two rooms, plus the sofa and chair. And then tried to sell me the vac for about $1,000.

And then one of the salesmen kept phoning me and asking me out on dates. Like 5 times.

So, uh, I don’t really recommend it. :smiley:

Thanks for the replies. I’ll make sure my friend gets a link to this thread.

The way she first described it to me (and perhaps the way it was pitched to her) was not as a Kirby sales presentation, but a cleaning company that cleaned carpets as their primary business; that normally charged, but sometimes, out of the kindness of their warm, soft hearts :rolleyes: did their work for free.

My ex-husband fell for that, once. The Kirby guy came out to our house, threw a bunch of dirt on our carpet and then vacuumed it up to show us how well the vacuum worked. Well, duh!

He did, however, fulfill his end of the deal, and vacuum two rooms. Saved me about 20 minutes of work, and cost me about 45 minutes listening to his sales pitch. For a $1500 vacuum. Which was very heavy, and required bags. We didn’t buy it. And then the salesman got all pissy with us for wasting his time.

Here’s their real plan.

Reminds me of Jim Ignatowski, who grinds all sorts of icky stuff into the carpet for a demonstration, then remembers that he is selling encyclopedias, not vacuums.