Columbus-area members say window cleaner a pain

Columbus-area members say window cleaner a pain

A coupon deal for window 
cleaning enticed Carol Couch to try 
a company she never hired before. But after the Powell member says she paid the Columbus-area window cleaning business American Window Cleaning more than $260 to clean 60 windows in her home, the technician left a third of them untouched and failed to properly clean the rest. “It was just a very sloppy job,” she says, adding that only one worker showed up. “This guy left splatters of water all over the windowsills.”

When Couch purchased the Groupon for $69 for 25 windows, she says an American Window representative offered her a deal to clean all the windows of her house. She later felt the deal was an effort to lure customers into purchasing extra work: “I think that in itself is false advertising,” Couch says. She adds that after the company failed to keep a promise to finish the job, she eventually cleaned the windows herself, along with the dirt left on the windowsills and floor.

Angie’s List members rated American Window Cleaning an F based on four reviews after purchasing a Groupon deal that ended in May for the then-unrated company. The company, which Secretary of State records indicate is based in Alexandria, offered Groupon deals in Columbus, Palm Beach, Fla., and Tacoma, Wash. In Columbus, the company offered coupons for window cleaning and gutter cleaning ranging from $35 to $59, advertising itself as having 40 years of experience in the area. According to the Groupon offers, Robert M. Urban started the business in Columbus and expanded to other states.

Groupon spokesman Nick Halliwell declined to speak about American Window, but referred to a company policy that states refunds are given for vouchers if the purchaser isn’t satisfied or if the business closes. Halliwell says Groupon scrutinizes companies before entering into an agreement and terminates the relationship if the company fails to deliver quality work. Several attempts to reach American Window were unsuccessful.

Other Columbus-area members who bought deals say American Window failed to keep appointments. John Corbitt of central Columbus purchased a $35 Groupon for a gutter cleaning and planned to use it for spring of 2012. He says he called American Window to make an appointment about 15 times before reaching someone, who told him the company was overwhelmed, but he could schedule for the fall, which he did. “When I tried to call and confirm, I couldn’t get through,” he says. “I really feel like that was a scam because I think if they were honest they would’ve answered. If they were honest they would’ve said, ‘We’ll give your money back.’”

Corbitt received a refund from Groupon, as did Gahanna member Susan Chittum, who also says no one from American arrived at the scheduled service time. Chittum says she finally reached an office, but it wasn’t local. However, she added the person’s response was: “I will get you rescheduled,” says Chittum, adding that she didn’t hear anything further.

In 2010, the State of Ohio placed sales tax liens in excess of $29,000 against Urban that remain unpaid in Franklin and Licking counties, according to court records. Banks also won civil judgments against Urban for more than $6,000, court records say.

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