East Texas residents taken to cleaners

East Texas residents taken to cleaners

(KLTV) - From the East Texas Better Business Bureau

The East Texas Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about an area carpet cleaning contractor whom they say took customers' money without completing the work.

Several Tyler and Longview area consumers are reporting that Steam Tech did not provide services they paid for.

Responding to roadside sign advertisements for carpet cleaning at $12.95-$20 per room, customers are alleging the contractor comes in, sprays water on the floor (to let it soak), asks to be paid in cash, and leaves the premises without completing the job.

Another consumer told BBB that she went to look at the room, and by the time she realized he hadn't done anything, he was gone.

"I gave him $210, and he said he was going to write up an invoice," one consumer stated. "Next thing I know, I hear his motor running. He just took the money and ran."

Customers describe the vehicle as an unmarked older model white Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck with carpet equipment and a blue barrel in the back. The worker reportedly claims his name is Michael, David, or John, however, based on customer descriptions, BBB believes this is most likely one individual. Consumers describe the man as a Caucasian male, 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build, with short, dirty blond hair, and a goatee.

"In the State of Texas, there are no licensing requirements for carpet cleaners," said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President of Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas. "That's why it's so important for consumers to verify companies with BBB before hiring them to come into your home."

Consumers report they have attempted to contact the company phone number, but the company has been unresponsive. BBB investigators have also attempted to contact the company, but have not yet received a response. Reports have been filed with the Tyler Police Department.

BBB offers the following advice for consumers dealing with carpet cleaners or other contractors:

  • Watch out for contractors in unmarked trucks or for companies requiring advance payment or payment in all cash.
  • Don't succumb to high-pressure techniques, such as notices that the price is good for one day only.
  • There is no licensing for carpet cleaners in Texas, so it's a good idea to verify that the company is bonded and insured.
  • Try to verify the business's true identity. Get a business card and a physical location of the company. It is always better to deal with well-established businesses with a good record.
  • Ask for references. Make sure the company that wants your business has satisfied other customers.
  • Make sure you get a written contract in advance of approving any work. Read it thoroughly and make sure you understand and agree to everything before signing it.
  • Do not be coerced into paying for work that you did not approve. If you feel pressured or if a contractor will not leave your home when asked, contact police.
  • Never pay the full amount in advance of the work being completed.

To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.

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