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Air Duct Cleaners Change Name but Methods Stay the Same

On April 7, 2011 the BBB Serving Western VA alerted consumers to ads being run in the Roanoke Times for air duct cleaning and mold removal by KP Services.  At that time the BBB informed the public KP Services was connected to Pure Kleen, a company which has been active for more than a dozen years using a variety of names. This network of individuals have set up different duct and carpet cleaning companies from Washington State to Florida and been the subject of at least three cease and desist orders issued by various State Attorneys General.  On Tuesday, April 26, 2011 the same ad used by KP Services ran in the Roanoke Times under the name Clean Air Solutions.  The contact number listed is a call center; when asked the local street address the  BBB was given the same storefront address on Williamson Road in Roanoke used by KP Services and Atlantic Air Services, LLC.  The BBB has learned that the same ad agency in New York placed ads for both Clean Air Solutions and KP Services.

One area consumer tells us after 45 minutes of cleaning they were told KP Services had discovered mold in their furnace.  The technician told the consumer it would cost an additional $480 to remove the mold, when the consumers asked to see the mold they were told it had already been removed but it needed disinfecting to keep it from coming back.  “We were a bit suspicious about the way it was presented and opted not to do the additional work, our furnace had been serviced a month earlier,” said the consumer.  The technician made several calls to her ‘boss’, each time she spoke with him the price to remove the mold would decrease – each time the consumer declined.  The consumer wrote a check to KP Services for the duct cleaning and asked the technicians to leave.  According to the consumer, at that point the technician, Mindy Brinkman, said the check needed to be made out to her because her boss wanted to “avoid paying taxes…”.  When the consumer refused, the technician again called her boss who offered a reduced rate on the duct cleaning if they would pay in cash.  The consumer again declined to pay cash but, in order to get them to leave did make the check out to the technician.  When the technicians left, the consumer noted the van had Florida license plates.

“The consumer felt the phone calls between the technician and her ‘boss’ were rehearsed,” said Julie Wheeler, President & CEO of the BBB Serving Western Virginia. “This is a typical bait and switch ploy; first they used the ‘we found mold’ scare tactic and then resorted to reducing the price in hopes of being paid in cash. Fortunately this was a very savvy consumer who refused to be taken in by the scare tactics used.”

The primary contact for KP Services is Ken Payer who is also associated with Pure Kleen in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee; all three of these locations have a BBB rating of ‘F’.  The vehicles used by KP Services have Georgia, Alabama, and Florida license plates and range from vans to a Cadillac Escalade.

When looking for a professional to clean out air ducts, BBB recommends consumers:

Check the Company Out With BBB. Before setting up a visit, check the company out with your Better Business Bureau first. Ideally, the business will be Accredited by BBB or at least have a good rating. Pay close attention to the name of the business you’re researching because unscrupulous outfits often choose a name that is similar to an existing business that has a solid reputation. To check out a business’s Reliability Report or locate a BBB Accredited duct cleaner visit www.bbb.org.

Look for the Fine Print. Ads and contracts may contain fine print which the business might think will absolve them from honoring their advertised price. Always ask plenty of questions and get to the bottom line of what it’s going to cost you, before you sign on the dotted line.

Get a Second Opinion. If the duct cleaner discovers that you have a mold problem, get a second opinion.  Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars so you’ll want expert advice on how to take care of it.

File a Complaint with BBB. If you believe you’ve been misled by a business, file a complaint with your BBB online at www.bbb.org. Even if BBB isn’t able to resolve the issue for you, the complaint can serve as a warning to other consumers about the business.

 

Fore more advice on home improvement and maintenance, visit http://www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-home/.

 

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