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Better Business Bureau warns against carpet cleaning company

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WINSTON-SALEM, NC --According to the Better Business Bureau's David Dalrymple, Personal Touch did not provide the services customers paid for and also could not provide a deliverable mailing address.

Dalrymple said the first complaint came in a year ago, and consumers have filed a total of five complaints.

Dalrymple said the majority of complaints have come in regarding a LivingSocial posting that advertised Personal Touch's services for $59.99.

A Winston-Salem nurse named Jennifer Breitbarth said she found the LivingSocial ad, bought it, and contacted the company multiple times over the course of a month to get her carpet and floors cleaned.

"Finally got a hold of some woman there, and she told me the price on the ad was wrong and that I'd have to pay $50 more. So I called the Better Business Bureau."

The BBB lists Kareem Booker as the owner and sole proprietor. When contacted on the phone and in person Wednesday, Booker said the issue was with LivingSocial, not with his company.

Booker claimed LivingSocial posted the wrong price for his services. Once the price was posted, Booker said, his company received a volume of work it could not handle. Booker also said any refunds need to come from LivingSocial, as his company has not received any money from the deal with LivingSocial.

"Do we get any money from these customers before we do the work? No. We get paid after the work is completed so anybody that doesn't get their redemption on these coupons gets a 100% money back guarantee," Booker said.

Booker also said he was not the owner of the four-man company. He claimed the real owner is a man named Christopher Fox. Booker did not make Fox available for comment.

Dalrymple said customers need to be wary of ads online, including those on well-known websites like LivingSocial.

"I think customers falsely assume that perhaps the advertiser, the service that the business is using, that they've checked the business out," Dalrymple said. "To my knowledge they don't do background checks, check histories, check information."

LivingSocial responded Thursday with a statement, saying in part, "We don't run offers that merchants haven't specifically approved."

The statement continues, "In this case, we received a significan number of customer complaints from consumers who said the merchant did not answer the phone or refused to honor their voucher without additional payments, so we refunded those customers who complained. We apologize to any customers who were unable to take advantage of this offer due to similar issues."

Jennifer Breitbarth said she never received a refund and had to pay another company to clean her carpet on top of what she'd already paid for the LivingSocial voucher.

"I won't be buying those coupons anymore, and I hope somebody puts those guys out of business," Breitbarth said.