MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) –
The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South issued a warning about a Hillshire/East Memphis duct cleaner for using multiple aliases and generating hundreds of consumer complaints.
Service Medics, 6658 Knollfield Drive, has earned the BBB’s F-rating. According to the bureau, the company offers carpet-cleaning and duct-cleaning services through coupon or social media ads. Nancy Crawford, the bureau’s communications director, said the company has generated 130 complaints in the last six years. The company has failed to respond to 13 of those complaints while others were not resolved satisfactorily, according to Crawford and to the company’s BBB record.
A bureau news release also revealed Service Medics’ owner, James E. Jones, has operated his company under as many as six aliases, including Sounds Like Service, Fortitude Home Services, The Mold Guys, TruClean Home Services and 1st Choice Home Services. According to the release, the bureau issued a warning on 1st Choice Home Services in October 2013 when it received complaints from consumers in 11 states “…alleging missed appointments, misleading advertising, poor service, and difficulty reaching the company to resolve problems.” One consumer complained that when she hired Jones’ company to clean her ducts, a worker showed up with a leaf blower and a shop vac.
Randy Hutchinson, the bureau’s president, added that none of the companies has ever been BBB-accredited and in the case of Service Medics, Hutchinson said Jones has falsely advertised that it is BBB-accredited.
“Service Medics was for a short period of time until we learned that James Jones was the true owner of the company, at which point we expelled them,” Hutchinson said. “The collective record of all the companies is so poor that they don’t qualify for BBB accreditation.”
The automatic attendant on Jones’ company phone number identified it as Service Medics. Jones explained that the volume of complaints could be attributed to several sales of the company and ownership changes. “A lot of those issues, they’re just missed appointments,” Jones said. “They’re a couple of time frames when my business was run by other owners, including one out of Atlanta. So it changed names several times. Then it didn’t work out, and I took it back over. I tried to respond to every complaint, but the BBB would never assist me or help me address them.”
Jones claimed his company’s poor rating is retribution for not paying his BBB membership dues. “For a while, I had an A-plus rating,” he claimed. “If I had known that it would have cost my rating, I wouldn’t have stopped paying the monthly fee. I have nothing to hide. They’re like a big bully.”
Hutchinson insisted Jones’ company rating is based not on punishment, but on its service performance. “Many consumers had more than one problem (with Jones’ company),” Hutchinson said. “For example, missed appointments and poor service. On numerous occasions over the past few years, Mr. Jones asked us to re-send complaints so that he could respond to them. We sent them each time, and he still didn’t respond.”
BBB’S TIPS FOR VETTING SERVICE COMPANIES
* CHECK THE COMPANY’S SERVICE RECORD AT BBB.ORG. Read the text of consumer complaints and reviews. It only takes a moment, and it might save you from doing business with a company that doesn’t treat its customers fairly.
* DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Check the company’s website for a physical address and phone number. Call and talk to the merchant for more details before buying. If buying from a group buying site, compare the coupon price with the company’s regular prices and those of their competitors. Ask about deadlines for redeeming the coupon and find out whom to contact if you have a problem.
* ASK ABOUT THE COMPANY’S REFUND POLICY. There’s no such thing as a standard refund policy. Find out if the company will refund your purchase price or issue a credit if there are problems with the goods or services you’ve purchased.
* REMEMBER THAT A COUPON OFFERED ON A GROUP BUYING SITE DOESN’T EQUATE TO THE COMPANY BEING A REPUTABLE BUSINESS. In fact, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators exposed that very truth in this investigation of a service purchased through Groupon.