Couple complain about odors from Indianapolis carpet cleaning
Did not respond to Karen Utterback's complaint that the company has failed to fix scratches left on her new wood flooring when they moved back her furniture.
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COMPLAINT: Scott and Carol Heneisen, Indianapolis
"Smith-Mathis Inc. was supposed to clean and sanitize the carpet in our daughter's bedroom and the hallway.
"After cleaning the carpet, the technician sprayed a deodorizer instead of a sanitizer, and the perfume odor was so strong in the top two levels of our house that we had to sleep in the basement.
"We asked them to reclean the carpet to get the odor out. Instead, they brought an ozone generator. They convinced us that they needed to clean the air before cleaning the carpet.
"We were very uneasy about putting ozone into our house, but they convinced us it was completely safe. They said they'd then come back and clean the carpet after the ozone generator had run for 16 hours.
"Two days later, they came back to clean the carpet. When we opened the door to our daughter's room, there was a strong chemical smell that differed from the deodorizer smell they were attempting to eliminate.
"They assured us the odor would be gone after a few days. The odor never went away. After many hours of research, we found that the ozone reacted with the latex paint on the walls, and caused off-gassing of formaldehyde and other gasses.
"The ozone also reacted with the carpet's fiber. Both fire restoration companies we talked to said that an ozone generator should not have been used.
"When we contacted Smith-Mathis, they first denied any responsibility, but after we sent a threatening letter, they agreed to cooperate by submitting a claim to their insurance company, which was denied.
"We then requested payment directly from Smith-Mathis for $2,000. We feel this request is very reasonable considering the great inconvenience this has caused us.
"Our daughter wasn't able to sleep in her bedroom for four months. We finally had the walls cleaned and primed with money out of our own pockets."
DESIRED RESOLUTION: "We want Smith-Mathis to reimburse us $2,000."
RESPONSE: Jeff Hendricks, vice president, Smith-Mathis Inc.
"We do not agree with the members' assessment of the situation. We made several attempts to correct their perception of a lingering odor, although our techs and myself could only detect a minimal odor that was not unpleasant.
"Our efforts included recleaning the carpet, deploying an air scrubber and finally using a small ozone generator. These methods of odor control are accepted practice. They have been and continued to be safe and successful methods for many companies.
"In spite of our best efforts, the members remain dissatisfied.
"They called and insisted on speaking directly with our insurance carrier, and made it clear that they didn't want to deal with us any further. I presented the possibility that we could pay to have the walls cleaned and repainted, and replace the carpet in the affected room.
"My only stipulation was that this be viewed as a final settlement. They found that arrangement to be unacceptable. After our conversation, I contacted my insurance carrier and turned the matter over to them. Eventually the insurance company denied the claim."