An advertised good deal turns into bad news for an Omaha couple. A coupon for inexpensive duct cleaning leads to an alarming claim with an expensive solution.
The Better Business Bureau had concerns about an $80 air duct cleaning offer. So using the home of a better business bureau employee Six On Your Side conducted a hidden camera investigation.
A duct cleaning technician for Midwest Home Services inspected Doug and Kathie Hansen’s home. The house had more vents than the coupon allowed but that’s not the alarming news. The technician said, “Since mold is very apparent in all your vents in the entire house, then in order to eradicate it, it has to be treated.”
The bargain suddenly ballooned. Kathie said, “its $1,414, yikes. The technician responded, “Right that’s just basically to totally restore your system back to the way it should be.”
The Hansen’s declined mold treatment and settled on duct cleaning for $285 dollars. Six On Your Side reporter Mike McKnight confronted the technician at the end of the four hour duct cleaning service call. Mike asked, “So you found mold? The technician said, “Yes excessive amounts in the duct work.”
Mold expert Steve Hudson of another company called Air Quality Services of Omaha inspected the home a few days after the other technician completed his work. Hudson told the homeowners, " I did not find mold growth within the duct work. I don’t see signs that there was mold growth within the duct work."
The technician also claimed MHS has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Omaha president of the BBB Jim Hegarty said, “Well he may have an a rating with a bureau somewhere else but he has an “F” rating with our Better Business Bureau.”
Erik Schweitzer of Midwest Home Services corporate office in Utah sent an e-mail response. He contends the company does have an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau though not specifying which Bureau location.
Schweitzer said, “Our intention is to always do the job right the first time but human error is sometimes unavoidable.”
He said in the past month the company serviced 149 homes in the Omaha metro with 61 receiving a $79.95 cleaning only.
As for the mold claim by his technician. Schweitzer said, “Our technicians do not recommend mold treatment unless they get a positive reading on a mold swab biotest. Homeowner Doug Hansen said the technician never showed him any results of a mold biotest before claiming the house had excessive mold.
Schweitzer said his company does not condone or practice bait and switch techniques with customers.