Unsuspecting homeowners feel they were ripped off after forking over thousands of dollars to air duct cleaners that claimed to have found mold.
Kim Packard, Robert McCall and Sandra Johnson didn’t seek out someone to clean their air ducts. The call came to them, and each of their accounts are eerily similar.
They were told their air ducts needed to be serviced, and the cost didn’t wasn’t unreasonable.
Packard was told it would be $600 for the appraisal. MCall was estimated $459 for the duct clean.
A new revelation would change everything, however, discovered by the very people who reached out to them.
Johnson, who had surgery for angiosarcoma, said the air duct cleaners claimed they found mold.
“He came out into the lanai and said, ‘Oh my gosh, mold all in your pipes,'” Johnson said.
She wasn’t alone.
“‘Yeah, you got a lot of mold,'” Packard recalled being told.
McCall was in the same boat.
“You know you’ve got mold,” they told him.
But licensed mold assessor, Jacob Mermin, said that’s not how things work.
“You just can’t do that,” Mermin said. “It’s not ethical.”
Mermin explained that most air duct cleaning companies would never claim to have found mold, and doing so is potentially illegal.
Florida law only allows licensed mold assessors to identify mold and Mermin said any legitimate assessor would take samples and send them to a lab for analysis.
“You can’t go in there and sit them down and say, ‘Listen you’ve got mold,'” Mermin said.
But all of these customers claim that’s exactly what this air duct cleaning company did.
“He showed me pictures of a lot of brown stuff on all of our equipment up in the attic,” Packard said.
Packard wasn’t the only one shown photos.
“Could have been pictures he showed everyone,” Johnson said.
While McCall wasn’t shown a photo, he said he was shown a swab test.
However, a swab test isn’t a legitimate way to test for mold, according to Mermin.
All of the customers paid thousands after being convinced the company would sanitize their ducts by fogging them with a cleaning material.
“Came back and said, ‘Okay, we can do it for the $3000,” McCall said.
Packard had a bill for $4,200 and Johnson one for $4,000.
They all said the work was done in less than an hour.
Each of these customers felt they were ripped off and were initially embarrassed to talk about it.
“I wonder about my own sanity a little bit,” Packard said.
“Just be a lot more careful than I was,” McCall said.
But none felt more ashamed than Johnson.
Phillip, her husband of nearly forty years, had just died three months before the air duct cleaning contacted her.
“Phillip does the play by play, I do the color,” Johnson explained of their relationship. “So, it was new territory for me.”
Battling cancer, losing a life partner, and now out thousands, Johnson urges others to investigate their AC company to make sure they’re legitimate first.
She suggested asking for their license number and remember that only a licensed mold assessor can tell you that you have mold.
NBC2 is not naming the company because none of the clients we spoke to filed legal action or complaints.
Source: NBC2 News