On Thursday January 22, our insurance company sent ***********, lead technician, from Servicemaster to our home to clean up water damage from a malfunctioning sump pump. The previous day we had received an estimate from another company but our insurance company could only guarantee they would pay with Service master. The previous company said it was type 2 water and that the baseboards, 1' of drywall, carpet and padding needed to come out. *********** said we could keep the carpet, padding and drywall but the baseboards needed to come out. He had me sign a contract that the rates could not be disputed and he told me that the insurance company would be paying directly to them. If I did not sign it, they could not do the work for the insurance company. So I signed it. I did not receive a copy of the contract nor did I get any estimate. Later that day the insurance adjuster came and said insurance would not cover a sump pump leak. So when *** came the next day, Friday, to check the equipment I informed him that insurance would not pay and that I wanted an estimate. I also told him the there was now an odor where the water damage was. He said the odor was normal and we might need to take out the padding. He also said he misidentified the type of water and that is was not type 1, but type 2 water. He called me later and left a message that services so far were $1250. The next day he came to pick up the equipment when we were not home, saying that the job was complete. He did say he would take out the padding if I wanted him to. I asked his advice and he said it did not need to come out. Two days later the smell was getting worse. My husband pulled up the carpet and the padding underneath was soaking wet! We removed it and called our insurance company to complain. And also to tell them we never received a written estimate for anything. She called them and told them to send us an estimate and told them about the wet padding. They did not call. I called her back the next day and said I received nothing. She called them again. We never received an estimate or an explanation for the wet padding. We did, however, receive a bill for $1093 via email. I refused to sign that the work had been completed and write a note as such on the invoice, but we did pay the bill to protect our credit. *** called me the next day and left a message asking me to call him. I called him but he did not answer. He never called me again.***** at ********** Insurance ************ can verify the phone calls she made. I have included a photocopy of the invoice I wrote the note on, a photo of the rust stains left by the legs of the drying equipment as well as a photo of the wet concrete under the padding when we pulled it up.
We want a refund of the $1093 we paid to have the area dried. We want $60 to have the carpet cleaned of the rust stains. If the stains do not come out, we want $1000 to replace the carpet.
February 27, 2015
Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado
25 N. Wasatch Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Re: Case # ********, ************************
We are in receipt of your letter dated February 19, 2015, and appreciate your time and effort as a neutral third party in this matter.
On November 28, 2014 *************** accepted our bid and engaged our firm to conduct cleaning services for a residential property located at *************** in Colorado Springs (the "Property"). Attached please find a copy of both the bid and final invoice. Work was performed by our cleaning crews on December 3rd, December 5th, and December 10th. The cleaning technicians that were on site were, ***************, ******* *******, ************ and ********** as the supervisor. At the time of Mrs. *******'s termination of our contract on or around December 17th, we still had not completed the ozone treatment (for odor control) to the Property as Mrs. *******s had asked us to perform this treatment at a later date so they could complete some other work they had going on. As all bid work had been completed, with the exception of the ozone, she asked us to invoice her for the work completed. Please know that the charges of these uncompleted items were removed from the final invoice, even though the agreement was for a fixed price for our services and as such we were under no obligation to do so.
For further perspective, it is important to note that we also provided additional services free of charge which including a significant amount of various floor area scraping and cleaning and the use of hazmat mitigation (including N95 respirator masks); and that we asked for no additional compensation for costs incurred by us when our work crews had been scheduled by Mrs. *******'s son to work on December 4th and no one was on site to provide access to the Property (in fact our calls went unanswered/unreturned from that Thursday December 4th through the following Monday December 8th).
Our ServiceMaster franchise has been providing professional cleaning services in Colorado Springs marketplace since the 1970's. The cleaning products we use are both high quality and proven formulations. Products used at the Property included and cleaner/degreaser for the removal of dirt, smoke and film on walls (we used WallGlide which is an excellent and proven hard surface detergent) and an anti-microbial to sanitizer for all surfaces (we used SaniMaster 6 which is a quaternary-based EPA-registered disinfectant designed for use in hospitals where controlling the risk of cross-contamination is extremely importance, this product is proven effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses and fungi, including CA-MRSA).
It is difficult to describe the horrific condition this Property was in. Mrs. *******s had informed us that this Property had been rented for ten years to a gentleman who had allowed homeless people to use the Property. In addition to the obvious use of drugs and drug paraphernalia, masses of garbage, and hoarded junk throughout the Property there was also evidence of both human and animal defecation. All experienced cleaning companies would have priced their services to the *******s as a Hazardous Materials / Disaster Restoration Cleanup which would have cost thousands of dollars more than our charges.
Per the attached bid, the amount that was due our firm was $2,482.42, which we have revised to the betterment of the *******s to $2,192.22 as reflected in our final invoice. In our attempts to resolve this matter we have indicated that we would consider a further adjustment to our invoice but our communications with the *******s have proven ineffective.
The *******s appear to believe that all professional services can be hired by the hour at $13. We recently hired a professional to fix a refrigerator, the part cost less than $100 and the job took just over an hour and the final price was a little over $800, and for the record this company was the cheapest bid we received for the service. Professional services can be expensive, but we did not choose not to pay this bill nor did we try to renegotiate the invoice by offering $13 for the hour of work they conducted.
We stand by our final invoice, but remain open to any reasonable resolution to this matter.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I am not Mrs. *******s. I do not live in Colorado Springs. My name is ************* and I live in Parker. This is not the claim that I filed. But it is interesting to me that someone else was as dissatisfied with this company as me to file a complaint.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Again, the information on here is for someone else's residence, not mine.
Final Business Response
ServiceMaster received a notification from ********** insurance at 9:46 AM, Wednesday 1/21/15, that one of their insured's, the *******, had a water intrusion problem in their home. We immediately called the ******* and arranged an on-site service call for that day. The crew arrived on-site at 1:24 PM, 1/21/15. As is clearly outlined in the attached signed service agreement, any arrangements/agreements are between ServiceMaster and the homeowner. We are not contracted or obligated in any way with any insurance company. The insurance companies only refer vetted contractors to clients to streamline the process of finding and securing a good contractor. As such, ServiceMaster is a preferred vendor for ********** and they referred us to the *******. It is the ******* final decision as to who they choose to use. Prior to any work being performed the ******* were presented an entire packet of information that outlined the water mitigation process and what they could expect to experience. This packet was left with them. Included in this packet was clear information on typical pricing so as to be completely transparent and an explanation in several areas that the process is not perfectly predictable and quoting a firm price is impossible. We have a practice to bill only for the work we do and document it so as to be accountable. Also included in the packet is a Service Guarantee that states that will do the job right the first time or do it over, no questions asked.
Emergency services were performed on 1/21 and a discussion was had about the padding under the carpet and whether it should be removed or kept. Ms ******* requested we keep it in place to attempt to save it as she wasn't sure the job would be covered by her insurance company. We honored that request. All other wet materials were addressed including drywall, structural lumber (sill plates) and concrete flooring. Upon visiting the job the next day, the technician, ***, was informed that the SF adjuster had been on site and determined that their policy did not include coverage for a sump pump failure. Ms ******* then asked for a verbal estimate as to what we thought the job would amount to. *** called into the local office and requested an estimated price based on our anticipated time to dry the structure and the labor hours involved. *** called Ms ******* to report the quote several hours later and gave them a price of approx. $1250. *** inspected the home again on Friday, 1/23, and removed several of the air movers at that time as the structure was drying nicely. The odor from the wet carpet and pad (normal) was dissipating and it was further agreed that the pad would remain. Finally, on Sat, 1/24, on ***'s 4th visit to the home, it was determined that the structure, including carpet and pad, had dried to acceptable levels to remove all the drying equipment. Attached is a full documented account of the moisture readings that were attained each day at the home. Specialty meters are used to read moisture levels in all building material and a moisture probe is used to monitor carpet and pad wetness. All measurements were at or below "dry standard", so the equipment was removed.
ServiceMaster was not aware of a problem with wet padding until several days later when we received a call from a ********** rep. *** received only 1 call from her and immediately called the ******* to arrange for a follow-up inspection to try to figure out what might have happened. As our guarantee states, we guarantee to do the job right or we'll do it over. *** had to leave a message and made the offer to return and do whatever is necessary to correct the problem. Neither *** nor the company heard anything back from the ******* until we received this complaint through the BBB. Now to be clear, it is feasible that Ms ******* called ***, but if she did not leave a message *** would not have known to call her back as *** receives dozens of calls a day and can't always answer the calls; he relies on messages. Additionally, as states above, the information packet left with the ******* clearly outlined problem resolution tips, including numbers to call and people to speak with. They also received an email from the company president on 1/23 that further outlined this process and our desire to insure their complete satisfaction. It appears that none of these proposed suggestions were followed and ServiceMaster was not given the opportunity return to the home to address the complaint. The company had no idea other than the call from the insurance rep (which we promptly returned) that the ******* were still unhappy and needed further assistance. As demonstrated by our printed material (some of which is attached but more can be forwarded if requested) and the message *** left for the ******* upon hearing of the complaint, we were willing and able to make it right. We simply weren't given that opportunity.
ServiceMaster finalized the billing and forwarded that on to the *******. The final amount came out to $1093.03. This was for actual services performed and came to $156.97 less than the initial verbal estimate. ServiceMaster feels completely justified in the charges and have received full payment form the *******. Further documentation for the charges are shown in the attached Final Support Document and the final itemized billing. Also attached is the Customer Communication/Service Agreement signed by Ms ******* at the onset of the job.
Because we were not permitted to return and address any issues they were purporting, we don't feel it is right to request a refund of the work we did. We only charged for actual work performed and there can be no dispute that nothing was done. As for the reported rust stains, this was not something we were even aware of until reading it in this BBB complaint. Rust is easily removed from carpet and we would have been more than willing accomplish that if given the opportunity. *** did not see any rust staining and we certainly would have addressed it had we known. Additionally, this is something that is normally addressed when the carpets are cleaned and deodorized following drying. We did not charge for that service, not were we asked or expected to. As such, we do not feel obligated to reimburse the ******* for any carpet cleaning/rust removal.