CARPET SCAM

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COLUMBIA - A growing concern over carpet cleaning scammers is arising again in Columbia.

Resident Anne Stinson said she's been approached by people claiming they are carpet cleaners twice in the past week. She said the men were aggressive and persistent. 

Stinson said one person came at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, which she thought was an odd time for someone to try and sell carpet cleanings.

"The big thing is that they never identify themselves," Stinson said. "These men, they never identify anything about themselves and they're super aggressive. The first time, I was in my backyard and he came in to the backyard. He wouldn't leave, and I tried to explain it in so many ways that I really was not interested, but it was really hard to get him away from my house."

David Driscoll, the owner of Tiger Carpet Care in Columbia, said he was doing door-to-door sales two years ago when reports surfaced about carpet cleaner scammers. Driscoll said he made sure his employees weren't overbearing while walking through neighborhoods.

"We went through the city and got licensed to go to people's doors and knock on them. You have to have a specific certificate to do so," Driscoll said. "The guys that did it for me had badges with who they were, their pictures so people knew that they were legitimate, and we didn't push anything. We just gave away free bottles of spotter and cleaning kits for people's homes, and we said if you need carpet cleaning in the future, please give us a call." 

Mid-Missouri's Better Business Bureau Regional Director Sean Spence said, "The key is to be an educated consumer, to make sure that you do your research, to take a step back and take the time to check out contractors before you hire them and definitely before you give them any money."

Stinson called the police's non-emergency line to make them aware of the situation. She said she plans on taking extra measures if it reoccurs.

"If it happens again, I'll be a little more diligent about getting a license plate," Stinson said. "Cause it's really scary, so I just shut the door and try to figure out what's going on."

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