St. Louis Park-based cleaning company Go Clean has left a stain on some customers' memories and credit card statements.
"If you're a business, and you're running a business, how you would ever think this is okay?" asked Beth Holgrimson. "This is completely unethical."
Holgrimson told FOX 9 News she's tired dealing with Go Clean. Her frustrations started last April, when she hired the company to take care of a five-room townhome she was putting up for rent. Fewer rooms than listed on their coupon.
"I thought it was going to be about $100 for seven rooms, and when they started talking, they said, 'No, you probably want the spot cleaner and you probably want this,'" she said. "When I called him to pay the bill, it was $312 dollars."
At first, the busy mother of three didn't think much of the charge.
"No big deal -- I'm not going to worry about it -- until I got my credit card statement which was a month later, a couple weeks later," Holgrimson recalled. "I saw there were two charges for $312 on separate days."
In January, a full 10 months later, Go Clean billed her a third time.
"I wanted to think "a mistake" -- that happens. And then a third charge? That's just stealing. That's just taking money from me. Are you kidding me?" exclaimed Holgrimson.
After attempting to reach Go Clean's owner, Scott Pietz, to no avail, she reported the company to the Better Business Bureau.
FOX 9 News stopped by Go Clean to pay Pietz a visit. Although there was no answer, it was clear someone was inside to close the blinds. Just a few minutes later, Pietz pulled up but did not want to talk on camera.
Pietz hasn't given answers to the BBB either.
"Our attempts to reach him have not been successful," said BBB Communications Coordinator Dan Hendrickson.
Hendrickson told FOX 9 News there's a reason Go Clean got an "F" rating from the agency.
"A big part of that rating comes from customer complaints," Hendrickson explained. "How many complaints did the company get and how did they respond to those complaints? In this case, the company got 30 complaints and 28 of them have gone unanswered."
Pietz wouldn't go on camera, but he told FOX 9 News over the phone that he has serviced anywhere from 15,000-28,000 homes and only has 28 complaints. He then promised to get those people who filed complaints their money back.
The only other thing he said to FOX 9 was to "be fair."
Fortunately for Holgrimson, her credit card company has blocked those extra charges and further charges from Go Clean.
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 up front.
• 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.