GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A current employee of Anytime Duct Cleaning says the company is targeting the elderly in the Triad.
In June the Better Business Bureau started receiving calls about the company which first turned up in Saint Louis with complaints, then in Charlotte where the BBB gave them an “F” grade.
"I want to warn people about this... especially the elderly," says the employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The whistle blower says he hasn't worked for the company long, but long enough to know how it works. “They have a call center in North Hollywood, California where they use a senior citizen call list to contact the elderly and sign them up for a home visit for about $40.”
The employee says technicians, who work on commission, are taught to up sale once they arrive at a home. “They are told to tell the customer they have mold in their duct work or they found a carbon monoxide leak … and then charge them anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to fix a problem that doesn't exist.”
The company states on their website they are licensed in North Carolina to install and repair air condition units but no license is on file with the state or the City of Greensboro.
Some of the complaints to the BBB include unfinished work to taking money for doing nothing.
“This is a familiar tactic with these people,” said the son of a 90-year-old victim who, for the safety of his mother, didn't want to be identified during an interview last week. His mom says men with the company knocked saying they were there, at the request of a relative to clean her ducts. She says they stayed for about 20 minutes outside her home and then presented a bill for $577.
She wrote a check, but her son was able to cancel it before being cashed.
“If somebody shows up especially if you are an older individual and they are there to work saying your relatives sent them to you, you need to call your relative immediately,” he said.
The whistle blower says recent media attention has them going back to Charlotte and looking at Atlanta but warns they could come back. “Find your own duct work cleaners if you need the job done. Don’t let someone calling you come to your house.”
The BBB suggest before hiring a company to get multiple bids, ask for references, check their license and get all work put in writing.
The BBB says the company has used 15 different names and 9 different addresses.
The whistle blower says he’s quitting his job this week. “I just can’t do this knowing what they are doing to elderly people.”