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devil duck

home maintenance

I just got a phone call from a company called "Brooklyn Union Maintenance" offering to inspect my furnace for fire safety and carbon monoxide. "According to our records, the last time this was done was over two years ago. Would you be available for an inspection tomorrow afternoon? As always, there is no charge to you."

This puzzled me, so I asked "Wait: there's no charge? Then who pays for it?"

"The State and the Fire Department."

This seemed at least remotely plausible, although I'm not sure either of those entities has spare cash lying around to spend on private furnace inspections, but I went on: "Have I done business with your company before?"

"According to our records, the last time this was done was over two years ago." (Yes, you said that, but you haven't actually answered the question.)
Anyway, I tentatively made an appointment, hung up, and went to check them out.

Angie's List and Google showed a lot of entries entitled "Scam artists pray [sic] on senior citizens," "Fruadulent [sic] company," etc. So I called the gas company (which used to be called Brooklyn Union), and once I got a human, asked about Brooklyn Union Maintenance; the operator said "Yes, we've heard of them; they have no connection to us, and we're not sure they're a legitimate company at all. We recommend that customers not let them into the house, and don't give them any information."

Fortunately, *69 tells me the number of the last incoming call, so I called the alleged company back and said "My schedule for tomorrow won't allow me to have the furnace inspection after all. But I've got your number in case I want to reschedule. Thank you."