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Ashfield police warn of chimney sweep scams

ASHFIELD — Ashfield police are warning people to beware of solicitors posing as chimney cleaners who, after allegedly cleaning chimneys, will ask for money for other chimney repairs.

According to Police Chief Patrick Droney, at least two town residents have been contacted by such scammers, although there are reports that others been contacted with similar chimney cleaning offers in the state and in Franklin County.

Also, the Franklin County Home Care Corp., in its “The Good Life” newsletter, advises elders to be cautious in letting workers from a fraudulent cleaning company into their homes, after learning of scams against elders in Adams.

In Ashfield, Droney said a resident recently received a chimney cleaning from such a solicitor, which called itself Supreme Maintenance, for $79. The homeowner then developed problems with the chimney backing up smoke into the house. After calling the service, they were told the chimney liner was defective, and that the company could replace it for $1,900. However, if cash were used, it could be done for $1,400.

The contractor claimed to be licensed and insured, but showed no documentation, according to police. Droney said the repairs were completed, but the problems persisted. Upon checking on the company online, he found numerous reports of similar problems with a contractor of the same name, he said.

Another resident, a fire official, received a phone call for the purported chimney cleaning service, but when he mentioned his connection with the fire department, the caller hung up.

Droney said he called the contractor, told him he was the police chief, and asked for the company’s state contractor registration number and insurance policy number. However, Droney was unable to find the contractor information he was given as registered in the state.

He said Supreme Maintenance supposedly was from Hadley, but alleged the service has also gone by other names, including All Care Chimney, World Class Chimney and Empire Chimney.

The Ashfield Police Department recommends that if you are contacted for any such services, that you decline. If you do use a contractor, make sure to ask for their contractor registration number and insurance company policy number and telephone number. Also, the police recommend that you have the work inspected by the local building inspector before paying for any work.

“NEVER pay cash for repairs such as this,” the chief said. “If you feel you have been the victim of such a scam, contact the local police department and the Massachusetts Department of Consumer Affairs.”

Droney said the Fox-borough Police Department has also put out a similar warning about a chimney service called Supreme Maintenance earlier this month.

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