Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that Warranty USA Inc. and Air Duct Cleaning Pros, both based in Schaumburg, fraudulently charged consumers to repair mold and mildew damage in their homes--when the problems didn't actually exist."This company targeted vulnerable seniors and deceived homeowners into purchasing services they didn't need," Madigan said.
It's not the first time that duct cleaners have come under fire. A yearlong Better Business Bureau investigation found that often the ads for these types of services deceive consumers.
Madigan's office says that the services totaled more than $17,350 for consumers in five counties in Illinois, and that the owner of the companies, Moshe Kesem, not only falsified damage by showing customers the fake photos of purported problems in their homes, but tacked on unneeded work costing as much as $1,000. She's looking to prohibit Kesem from home repair work in the state and to assess penalties of $100,000, plus an additional $10,000 for every violation committed against a person over age 65.
When his customers questioned the charges, Kesem would issue threats demanding payment, the AG says. One victim said that she spent $2,494 so that Kesem and his workers would leave her home.
Madigan says that homeowners need to investigate contractors before signing anything, and to watch for red flags. If someone's pushing you into signing a contract, that's probably not a good sign.