VacuVent Lures Consumers with Bait & Switch Tactics
Claims of Mold Lead to Costly Services
[March 1, 2012 – Nashville, TN] BBB warns consumers of the business practices of VacuVent, an air duct cleaning company located in Sebastian, FL (800-664-5322), who is soliciting Middle Tennessee consumers. According to complaints on file with BBB, the company uses bait and switch tactics to lure consumers into paying several hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars for air duct cleaning services.
Customers are baited with low advertised prices, generally through print advertising or telephone solicitations, for air duct cleaning services ranging from $25 for a “whole house cleaning” to $39 for up to five vents and $7 for each additional vent. These ads/offers often include a depiction or description of a giant dust mite and alarming descriptions of mold, mildew and unhealthy air quality.
Once the company’s sales agents are in the consumer’s home, they lead the consumer to believe he or she has a serious mold problem and that it will take hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to have the mold removed. This is where the switch begins, as the sales agent starts racking up charges for treatments, inhibitors, electrostatic filters, and ultra violet lights. One local customer was presented with a bill for $1650, and when she questioned it, the company immediately dropped the charges to $1300 and suggested she place the charges on her credit card.
In addition to the bait and switch tactics, many complaints allege consumers purchased electrostatic or flex filters ranging from $125 - $150 with promised delivery within 4-6 weeks; however, after months of waiting, the filters never arrive. Other complaints allege consumers paid over $600 for an ultra violet light to assist with warding off mold growth; however, the ultra violet bulbs only last a few weeks to a few months, and the company will not assist the consumer with replacements.
“Most of us aren’t experts when it comes to maintaining the mechanical components of our home, and we have to rely on the opinion of the technician,” said Kathleen Calligan, BBB President/CEO. “Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of that trust by misleading customers into believing they have serious mold problems.”
BBB of West Palm Beach, FL where this company is located, has issued an F rating for this business based on its receipt of 75 customer complaints, of which 45 are unanswered by the company and nine remain unresolved.
To find trustworthy air duct cleaning companies, Start your search With Trust by visiting BBB’s Accredited Business Directory at www.Nashville.BBB.org
- Always Check with BBB First. Before setting up a visit, check the company out with your BBB. Ideally, the business will be Accredited by BBB or at least have a good rating. Pay close attention to the name of the business you’re researching because unscrupulous outfits often choose a name that is similar to an existing business that has a solid reputation. To check a company’s marketplace performance and obtain the firm’s BBB rating, visit www.Nashville.BBB.org
- Get a Second Opinion. If the duct cleaner discovers that you have a mold problem, get a second opinion. Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars so you’ll want expert advice on how to take care of it.
- Look for the Fine Print. Ads and contracts may contain fine print, which the business may think will absolve them from honoring their advertised price. Always ask plenty of questions and get to the bottom line of what it’s going to cost you before you sign on the dotted line.
- File a Complaint with BBB. If you believe VacuVent has misled you, please file a complaint with BBB by visiting www.Nashville.BBB.org. Even if BBB isn’t able to resolve the issue for you, the complaint can serve as a warning to other consumers about the company’s business practices. In addition, consumers who were duped into placing the charges on their credit card can dispute the charges with the credit card provider under the Fair Credit Billing Act.
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When in Doubt, remember to check with BBB for information on businesses you can TRUST by visiting
The BBB of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was founded in 1961 as a non-profit Tennessee organization serving 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and 7 counties in Southern Kentucky. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.
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