Dirty dealing by air duct cleaning company caught on camera

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on February 6, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 14 at 9:10 PM

(KMOV)--The coupon advertises air duct cleaning for $49, $59 or $69, but some customers called and got charged more than $2,000. Our investigation began when News 4 got a call from Peg.  She lives in a one bedroom apartment in South St. Louis County.  She saw a coupon from US Air Ducts advertising what she thought was a great deal, $49 to get her air ducts cleaned.

Peg says 2 guys showed up, but the bill ended up costing a whopping $2,245.  She said they were in her apartment for an hour.
 
Peg says they told her she needed her furnace cleaned, so she thought the bill might be a little higher, but nobody said anything about thousands of dollars.  “I couldn't afford that, I didn't know what to do” said Peg.
 
The Better Business Bureau gives US Air Ducts an F rating and says 62 people have complained about the company over the past 3 years.  Many of those complaints sound just like Peg's, a coupon deal that cost a lot more than expected. 
 
News 4 decided to do our own check of sales practices of US Air Ducts.  First we had an air duct cleaning company recommended to us, DUCTZ, go and check out the duct work and furnace on a News 4 producer’s home.  Patty Clisham runs DUCTZ, a company that has an
 
A rating with the BBB.  She said out producer’s duct work was in need of major cleaning.  News 4 paid close to $500 to have it done the right way.  It took close to five hours to do the job.  Remember, Peg says the US Air Ducts crew spent about an hour at her place.  After DUCTZ signed off on our newly cleaned ducts and blower we set up an appointment 2 days later with US Air Ducts.
 
At that appointment while being recorded on an undercover camera, one US Air Ducts worker said the vents were pretty dirty.  He also told our producer that the blower, which was cleaned 48 hours earlier, needed to be cleaned again.  That same US Air Ducts worker told our producer “it's pretty dirty, blower cleaning its $159”.  He also suggested cleaning the main line vents, and here's something that made us question his experience.
 
He was recorded on our undercover cameras saying “I see the main lines here have never been done because there is no panel access.”  But the crew from DUCTZ had just cut holes in the system to get access to the main line.
 
Our producer stuck to her guns - and said she wouldn't pay more than the coupon.  But she did ask what would happen if she didn't agree to the additional services.  The US Air Duct worker told her “like I told you it's going to blow everything back to the system.  That was pretty close to what a crew told Peg.
 
Peg says her crew said the coupon cleaning wouldn't be enough to ensure clean air.  “He said if you don't get your furnace clean there's no point in doing your vents”.
 
When the US Air Duct crew showed up at our producer’s house they carted in a big machine, and stuck a big hose down the return for about twenty minutes.  But Patty Clisham from DUCTZ told us that “you could stick a vacuum up there and do it for that”.
 
US Air Ducts only charged us the coupon price, but they tried to get more money out of our producer for unnecessary work.  So News 4 was waiting as the workers got ready to leave the house. But before we could ask any questions, one man held a clipboard up over his face and the other pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his face. As Chris Nagus tried to ask them questions, they threw their gear in the van and drove off.
 
US Air Ducts tells News 4 they refuse to refund any additional more money for Peg.  They also say the company is now shut down and out of business.  But we called them on February 3rd and they were still taking appointments under a new name: Pure Air.  Also, Pure Air is still sending out coupons for discounted air duct cleaning.

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