Trusted Referrals & Accurate Information Regarding Duct Cleaning
20 Feb 2019

Maryland man wary after job advertised at $99 costs him thousands

 – A Maryland man says a fast-talking trio who specialize in swindling senior citizens came to his home – all thanks to a newspaper ad for air-duct cleaning.

The air-duct cleaners came to the man’s Fort Washington neighborhood for what was supposed to be a $99 job – instead is cost thousands.

While the ad in the Washington Post indicated that the crew would clean your vents – but Bill Butler says the men who showed up in a Sears truck did anything but that.

The man came up with a litany of new things he said Butler would need – including two lights for $600 apiece.

Butler says the men used intimidation tactics – telling the 74-year-old and his wife that they were in danger of becoming infected from mold and mildew.

The tech also made Butler pay before getting to work.

“We have Sears cards but the Sears cards were old, we’ve been with Sears for 50 years and he said, ‘Well these cards aren’t working, can I have your Social Security number.’ I said, ‘No you can’t have my Social Security card.’ He says ‘Do you have another card you can use,’ I said ‘Yes, I have a Visa,’ he got approval and at that point shut everything down,” Butler said.

Butler says nearly $6,000 was charged to his card.

“It is crazy, especially because my daughter talked to someone out in Kansas and they have the same type of the business and the most they charge for anything is $500,” Brenda Butler said.

For Butler, the experience was eye-opening

“It was a sham.  I fell for, I feel bad for myself but you know what when I stop and think about it, that this company is doing now,” he said.

Consumer Advocacy group Checkbook.org says air duct cleaning is unnecessary.  The Butler family is considering retaining an attorney.

Sears has responded to FOX 5, confirming that the crew is associated with their company. They say Butler has been offered a full refund while they investigate the matter.

Sears offered the following statement:

“At Sears, the satisfaction of our members is our top priority. Our member solutions team has looked into Mr. Butler’s issue and is working to resolve the issue by providing him with a refund. We hope he remains a loyal Sears customer.”

Source: http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/maryland-man-wary-after-job-advertised-at-99-costs-him-thousands

17 Feb 2019

Duct Cleaner possibly causes $40,000 in damage in Warren

A basement fire in a home on Willard Avenue Northeast caused about $40,000 in damage Tuesday morning, but the couple living there got out unharmed.

A ductwork-cleaning company was working in the basement near the furnace at the time the fire started. That is the area where the fire started, but Warren Fire Chief Ken Nussle said the cause is still under investigation.

One of two duct-cleaning workers alerted the couple to evacuate, Nussle said.

Personnel with the Warren Fire Department and Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating.

Firefighters from all three stations were in training at the Masonic Temple at East Market and Pine streets Northeast downtown when the 9 a.m. fire was reported. They scrambled to their trucks, which were parked nearby, and responded.

Thick smoke could be seen coming from the home, causing smoke damage to all three floors, but the fire damage was contained to the basement, which contained furniture, Nussle said.

Nussle said there was “significant smoke damage.”

Fearing that the fire had started to travel up a wall, firefighters removed part of a first-floor exterior wall in an attempt to find it, but none was found, Nussle said.

The couple told Nussle they had lived there 40 years.

Source: https://www.vindy.com/news/2019/feb/13/warren-basement-fire-causes-k-in-damage/

14 Feb 2019

More homeowners say air-duct-cleaning crew scammed them following FOX 5 report

RINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) – Prince George’s County police are asking residents to call them if they feel they’ve been scammed by a Sears air-duct cleaning crew’s tactics.

Several residents say they saw an air-duct-cleaning ad promising that the job would be done for $99 – but ultimately they paid thousands.

After FOX 5 talked to one man whose bill ballooned from $99 to nearly $6,000, several residents contacted the station saying the same three men had done the same thing to them.

Ironically, while FOX 5 was interviewing Bill Butler in Fort Washington, the air-duct cleaning crew was busy at work on their next victim.

Cheryl Clark lives about seven minutes away from Bill Butler and his family – they’re strangers but they share a similar experience.

“I should have realized at the time what was going on but I just didn’t,” Clark said.

Like Butler, Clark says he saw the $99 Sears air-duct cleaning ad in the paper and made an appointment on Wednesday morning.

The same three men who showed up at the Butlers’ home also knocked on Clark’s door.

“They didn’t even look at the vents, they just went directly to the furnace and pulled the furnace thing down. There was a little rust in there on the coils and there was a little soot which everybody has I’m sure but he told me it was mold,” Clark said.

She says that less than an hour later, she was billed more than $5,000.

“They gave me two UV lights, they said I had to have that to keep the mold out of the furnace system. That was $600 apiece. Installation of the lights was $200 and that consisted of a little tiny hole, drilled into the furnace duct and plugged into something and that was it,” Clark said. “They said the sanitizer was $400. I found out that came from a spray can, a $12 spray can. The fogger system to treat the bacteria was this little machine — that was $2,000.”

Checkbook.org Executive Director Kevin Brasler says the crew is defrauding these people.

“You have companies out there that are engaging in this bait and switch tactic where they say it’s $99 and then they always find something and it cost thousands of dollars to initiate the repair,” he said.

“That’s fraud, that’s actually a crime to do that.”

But he added there’s a larger issue at play.

“The fact is the vast majority of homeowners never need to have their ducts cleaned. It intuitively makes sense, but the fact is that the testing that’s been done in this industry is that cleaning the dust out of your ducts doesn’t have any benefit to you,” Brasler said.

After learning about FOX 5’s story, Sears offered Butler a full refund.

Clark is hoping for the same resolution.

Sears says they are re-evaluating their operating procedures.

The company also offered FOX 5 the following statement:

“The satisfaction of our customers is our top priority. While we have standard procedures in place for the diagnosis of each customer’s situation to ensure they understand the product and services and the associated costs, we are listening to our customers in the D.C. area and are taking immediate action to address their concerns.

Going forward, any work that costs more than $499 will require a coordinator from our office to speak directly with the customer to further explain the benefits of the service and ensure they understand and authorize the service and payment. In addition, tomorrow we are also beginning ongoing training with our 35 D.C.-area Carpet Cleaning and Air Duct Cleaning franchise associates to ensure that our high standards of customer service are being met now and in the future.

Anyone who has a concern about Sears Carpet Cleaning and Air Duct Cleaning can call 800-586-1603 to speak with a national customer care representative.”

Source : http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/more-homeowners-say-air-duct-cleaning-crew-scammed-them-following-fox-5-report