Consumer

ConsumerWatch: Vacaville Woman Says $59 Duct Cleaning Became $1,500

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Air Duct. (CBS)

Air Duct. (CBS)

VACAVILLE (CBS 5) — A senior from Vacaville thought she was getting a $59 deal for “unlimited” duct cleaning, but her bill ended up being more than $1,500. The incident is raising concerns that duct cleaning companies that use questionable tactics may be targeting seniors in the Bay Area.

Last month, after receiving several cold calls, Elizabeth Danner hired a company called Advance Air Care to clean the air ducts at her mother’s home. Danner expected the job would cost about $60.

“She (the phone salesperson) said ‘Unlimited vents for $59.95,’” Elizabeth Danner recalled.

Marge Danner, Elizabeth’s mother, received a bill for $1,529. It’s not clear exactly what happened when the company’s workers were at Marge Danner’s home.

“He was trying to explain things I know nothing about,” 84-year-old Marge Danner told CBS 5 ConsumerWatch.

Elizabeth Danner believes Advance Air Care’s workers took advantage of her mother, who has trouble hearing.

“She was overwhelmed. She said they were talking too fast and doing things as they talked,” Elizabeth Danner said. She estimates the workers were at her mother’s home for about an hour and half, during which they installed a $650 “UV” light in Danner’s utility closet.

The rest of the bill, which is mostly illegible, seems to include charges for air duct cleaning and treatments, as well as dryer vent cleaning. It also seems to include a $100 math error.

Elizabeth Danner said she called Advance Air Care to complain and request the UV light be removed. She said an employee told her, “We can’t do it. Once it’s installed, it’s yours.” Danner said the company has since stopped responding to her phone calls.

A search of Better Business Bureau records found three air duct cleaning companies whose phone numbers match the phone numbers on Danner’s bill. Those companies are: Advanced Air Care, Inc. in Chicago, Washington Duct Cleaners in Issaquah, Washington, and Advance Air Care, Inc. in Los Angeles. The companies in Washington and Chicago have “F” ratings and both companies list Charles Ezerzer as the company’s owner.

ConsumerWatch made repeated attempts to reach Ezerzer by phone and email. Neither he nor any other company representative returned CBS 5’s request for comment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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