The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is issuing an alert regarding Go Clean, a St. Louis Park-based carpet cleaning service which advertises heavily through Groupon. The company has a rating of “F” with the BBB due to a pattern of complaints and failing to respond to a recent BBB advertising challenge. Currently, 28 complaints are closed as unanswered. Many customers allege they were billed at a rate far higher than the advertised price, with others saying they were double-billed by the company.
“The company advertisements say, ‘No hidden charges,’ said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “However, time and time again consumers are telling us they hired the company to perform services at the advertised price and wound up being charged far more than that.”
In one case, an elderly consumer states she tried to use the company’s $149.95 coupon and wound up with a bill for over $1,200 – which includes a 10% senior discount the company offers.
Back in January, the BBB challenged the company to substantiate an advertising the company was running which claimed to offer a cleaning valued at $207 for $69. The company failed to respond to the BBB or provide substantiation as requested.
Recently, a number of customers have reported their credit cards were run by the company again; in some cases as much as a year after the company provided service. The BBB is encouraging all Go Clean customers, past and present, to monitor their billing statements closely and alert their credit card providers immediately if they notice suspicious or unusual charges. They may also want to consider contacting their local authorities in these instances.
To avoid potential headaches and disputes, the BBB advises the following steps customers should take when hiring a carpet cleaner:
- Be sure to check out businesses with the Better Business Bureau at 1-800-646-6222 or bbb.org.
- Remember that price does matter. While no one wants to be overcharged, extremely low prices should also set off warning signals. Companies advertising very low prices may be practicing ‘bait and switch’ advertising. Once the workers arrive in your home, they quickly push a more expensive treatment for the cleaning or refuse to conduct the cleaning at the price advertised. Ask exactly what is included in the price and be sure to get it in writing before the crew begins any work.
- Ask about potential changes that could affect the final cost of the service upfront.
- If you have a new stain, you can call your carpet cleaning company for advice before you try do-it-yourself methods or over the counter products. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about the carpet cleaning process.
- Review your carpet warranty before you have professional cleaning work performed. Be advised that certain types of cleaning products and equipment may void your warranty.
- Carpets will look better and last longer if you have them cleaned regularly. Carpet manufacturers recommend annual cleaning. A reputable cleaning company will provide excellent results.
- Ask your technician ahead of time what they do or do not move or if there are any extra charges for this service.
- Try to be at home the first time you work with a new carpet cleaning company. Be sure to identify trouble spots before they arrive and point those out to your technician.
- If a business offers a service or satisfaction guarantee, be sure to ask them to explain how they define “guarantee”.
- If a spot reappears after cleaning or there is any other problem with the cleaning, you should call within two weeks and a reputable company will address the problem.
- Ask the cleaning company if they sub-contract any work. If they do, ask for the name of the company conducting the work in your home so you have an opportunity to research that company before you agree to the service.
- Ask family, friends and neighbors for personal recommendations.