$49 job became a 'horror story'

  • Article by: JAMES ELI SHIFFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 23, 2011 - 11:35 PM

Savage homeowner is one of many pursuing Illinois firm that was supposed to clean customers' air ducts.

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jselstedtApr. 23, 1111:32 PM

Yeah, this company is a total rip-off. Our ducts are still dirty, and they had me paranoid that I had mold everywhere in my house. Tried to get us to spend hundreds more than the quoted price.

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dbcarlson2Apr. 23, 1111:55 PM

Sad to see she was taken for about $500. Could have have been much worse I suppose. At least she was willing to step up and make it known this company is a SHAM! Shame on them!!

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samo45Apr. 24, 1112:05 AM

The standard response of certain people is "Well, if a person is dumb enough to . . . then . . " This is an example of why consumer protection is needed, and more of it was needed during the subprime mortgage fiasco too, because those borrowers were signing documents that they couldn't possibly understand. Not everyone is young, well-educated, knowledgeable, and assertive. Older people want to stay independent, but that's often difficult, especially after a spouse dies. The reason this story doesn't have more snarky comments about self-reliance is because it makes it clear that it's one old woman who is trying very hard to live alone. A truly civilized society is supposed to prevent things like this from happening.

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MNgolfnutApr. 24, 1112:12 AM

I happened to watch that particular Dateline show after channel surfing one night. It was very well done! The hidden carmera thing which showed the contractor faking the work he did...

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greggenApr. 24, 1112:15 AM

C'mon, how many of these bogus non-whistle blower stories that do not name names do we have to.. Er, what? Nevermind.. Keep up the good work Whistleblower!

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cheltyApr. 24, 11 1:27 AM

Why would Valpak NOT make sure the companies they work with are reputable? I would be concerned putting my advertising with someone who doesn't care if they are working with reputable people. The cost to check up on these companies is likely well-worth the potential cost of losing good companies for advertising dollars.

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killermebeApr. 24, 11 2:22 AM

Duct cleaning has been and always will be a scam.

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toddlangeApr. 24, 11 6:10 AM

It is usually best to find a local owned and operated business that will stand behind their work.

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nodramahereApr. 24, 11 7:42 AM

Sorry to hear the BBB was not there for your complaint..... Thank you for pushing other buttons to get this out to the public...

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spyderwebApr. 24, 11 8:11 AM

Back in the early 70's I work for AAA furnace cleaning. My job was to take off all vent covers and use a blowgun (it looked like a Skilsaw with a 12 inch pointed tube and made a lot of noise) to blow anything near opening out of sight. My coworker did the furnace cleaning and attached a long flexible tube to ducts in the basement that ran to our tuck on the street. I asked him how often they had to empty the vacuum truck and he laughed.. like are you serious dude? I quit after a couple weeks because I felt bad about ripping people off.The last day I worked there we went to the home of a single mother with a bunch of kids that was obviously just getting by and was the last person that could afford to be ripped off. I tried to tell her she should cancel the cleaning but the salesperson had convinced her it was dangerous for their health and well being not to have it done.I still feel bad about the experience. Just hire someone to clean and service the furnace and forget the cleaning of ducts. If your furnace blower does not blow anything out how do expect a vacuum truck parked on the street that is mostly a noisemaker to suck stuff out through a long flexible tube.

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