SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) – Officials in Santa Clara county say  duct cleaning companies using a variety of names  are cold-calling homeowners and offering $49 cleanings  that turn out to be way more expensive.   In addition, officials say,  the companies are falsely claiming affiliations with highly-rated businesses in the area.

Bonnie Ford of Affordable Heating and Air in Santa Cruz is one of the businesses trying to set the record straight. Ford, whose company has a A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and great on-line reviews,  says the unscrupulous operators are trying to piggyback on her company’s good reputation, even going so far to use her and her husband’s names during their sales calls.

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“They  have zero to do with us,” Ford told ConsumerWatch.

“They represent themselves as ‘your heating vendor that you’ve used before,” said Robin Gysin of the Santa Clara County Dept. of Consumer Affairs.

And if homeowners do agree to a cleaning appointment,  they’re usually hit with a big bill.

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“They almost always find a deficiency in the system.  They either needed all new air ducts or insulation,”  Gysin explained.

Gysin says they’re also doctoring documents,  making it appear they have the contractor licenses required by the state for bigger jobs.   She says in one case,  “the person is using a contractor license number used by a masonry company in Reseda.”

Gysin identified six companies as making the cold calls:  Indoor Air Quality, Air Quality,  A&B Heating and Air, Prius Clear Air,  Prius Clean Air and Air Solution. She advises consumers to be extremely wary of an company cold-calling and offering to do work on your home.


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