BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some South Mississippi residents thought they would be getting their air ducts cleaned by Advanced Restoration. Instead, they say they spent thousands of dollars on unnecessary mold remediation services.
The air duct cleaning company has been advertising in the newspaper that they can reduce cooling and heating costs up to 30 percent for only $49.95. The company also says it's licensed and insured.
Shirley Sanders of Gulfport decided to contact the company because the vents in her home had what she called 'a little black stuff' coming out of them.
"I called him and he came out and he said, 'Oh this is going to be very expensive' and I said, like how much and he said $3,000," said Sanders.
Sanders says the amount was too much, and the technician quickly agreed to do the air duct cleaning for $2,000.
"He said 'I'm going to bring a machine in and I'm going to wear a mask, and you will have to get out of the home,'" stated Sanders.
Sanders says she went to a neighbor's home while the technician worked inside her home.
"About a week later, the black stuff came out of the vents again, "Sanders said. "And I said, 'Oh something is wrong.'"
Sanders says she didn't want the Advanced Restoration technician back in her home, so she called a local air conditioning company, who asked to remain anonymous.
The local technician says the ducts weren't clean, and pointed out the evaporator coil, where debris remained visible.
Three other local residents told WLOX News Now they paid thousands of dollars to Advanced Restoration, only to find out from another technician their air ducts were still dirty.
A representative of Advanced Restoration told WLOX reporter AJ Giardina their business is located at 52 Hardy Court in Gulfport. But when AJ went to the Gulfport location, there was no 52 Hardy Court.
When AJ called the company again and asked if they had a state license, the person on the phone said yes, but that he couldn't give out the license number because the owner of the company was in a meeting and the number was in his office.
The Mississippi State Board of Contractors does not list Advanced Restoration as having a license in the state. Florida State Board of Contractors does list the company as licensed, and it's the same license number the company uses in their newspaper ad.
John O'Hara with the Mississippi Better Business Bureau says he has sent out a BBB warning for Mississippi Coast residents to beware of bait and switch tactics with air duct cleaning companies.
O'Hara says he has drawn a connection with Advanced Restoration and another located in Venice, Fla. called American Air. He says they both have the same phone number and address. The difference - American Air has an "F" rating with the BBB.
The Better Business Bureau says if a duct cleaner discovers that you have a mold problem, get a second opinion before spending any money and ask plenty of questions.
If you believe you have been misled by Advanced Restoration, you can file a complaint with the Mississippi Better Business Bureau and with the Consumer Protection Division of the State Attorney General.