5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side gets complaints about air duct company

Posted July 9, 2014 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2014 6:59 p.m. EDT

— WRAL’s 5 On Your Side has received complaints of repeated telemarketing calls and ballooning bills. They're tied to an air duct cleaning company.

Some viewers are angry about what happened after they agreed to the low cost service offer. For example, a Holly Springs couple was ultimately charged 25 times the initial quote. But most of those who complained just want the calls to stop.

“It was so frustrating to me. I was just trying to figure out any way to make them stop calling me," said Raleigh resident Shelly Bohn, who says Indoor Air Quality ignored her repeated requests. “They would just laugh at me, or make jokes or say ‘yeah’ and hang up.”

Frustrated, Bohn did something unconventional.

"I made the appointment,” she said.

When the crew showed up to her house, she handed them a letter demanding that they stop calling her.

“As he started reading it, I picked up my phone and said, ‘And here's a picture of you getting the letter,’” Bohn said.

The crew quickly took off in their unmarked van. Bohn says they stopped calling after she threatened to sue for harassment.

Holly Springs couple Bette and Joe Jankowski say they hired the company to check out their air ducts and air conditioning.

“(The worker) said, ‘Look at this … You’ve got mold and mildew,’” Bette Jankowski recalled. “He said, ‘Well, we're in bad shape. This has all got to be cleaned up.’”

The Jankowskis gave the OK for the cleaning and say they were stunned by the final bill.

“Our $59.95 service call ended up being almost $1,500,” Bette Jankowski said, adding that the worker wanted the payment in full right then. “He really argued about it.”

The man finally accepted $300 and agreed to let the family do a payment plan for the remainder of the bill. The Jankowskis say they feel scammed, especially after another company said their ducts had not been cleaned. The couple hasn't heard from Indoor Air Quality since.

"It's not fair. It's not right,” Bette Jankowski said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Indoor Air Quality goes by several names, including Green Air Care. They have an "F" rating. WRAL’s 5 On Your Side talked to the owners in California, who said they stopped doing business in North Carolina because of "too many problems,” saying the BBB and competitors gave them a bad name.

North Carolina's Attorney General is investigating and recently issued an alert about Robo Calls and Air Duct Cleaning Scams.

"It's not fair, it's not right,” Bette Jankowski said.

The Jankowskis feel scammed, especially after another company said their ducts had not been cleaned. The couple hasn't heard from Indoor Air Quality since.

As for Bohn, the company stopped calling after she threatened to sue for harassment.

So, is it even necessary to clean air ducts? The Environmental Protection Agency says there is no scientific proof that cleaning prevents health problems or that dirty ducts cause the air in your home to be dirty. However, if you have visible mold in ducts that you can see with a flashlight or debris coming out of air registers, experts say to get them cleaned.

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, a quality job should take two pros using specialized tools eight to 15 hours to complete. For a 2,000-square-foot home, it should cost between $400 and $1,000.