Worst Los Angeles Contractors of 2012
Peace of Mind Relocation | Van Nuys, Calif.
Lured by the name Peace of Mind Relocation, Angie’s List member Rosemary Alles hired the company for her move from Altadena, Calif., to Mountain View, Calif., in February. Alles says the initial communication was cordial and businesslike, but the movers came late to pick up her belongings, and some of her property arrived broken or damaged. Her bill came to $3,700 instead of the estimated $1,500, she says.
“They called the day of the move, said they would be there within 40 minutes,” Alles says. “They would not unload the truck until I paid them the full balance in cash.” Alles says she scrambled to get the money, going to the ATM, borrowing from friends and paying partially with a check. “It was a lack of research on my part, and the name was really captivating,” says Alles, who joined Angie’s List after the incident and filed an F report that landed the mover in the Penalty Box.
Peace of Mind earned an overall grade of F on Angie’s List, including three F reports in 2012. Members’ reviews allege their property went missing or arrived broken, their bills included excessive charges and the company failed to arrive for scheduled moves. After settling into her new home, Alles says she stopped check payments and contested the charges but paid fees in the end because of her contract.
Consumers filed 12 complaints with the U.S. Department of Transportation against Peace of Mind Relocation since 2010, including seven in 2012, according to agency records. Among the complaints logged by the Transportation Department were problems related to pickup or delivery, shipment documents, changing estimates and final charges, cargo weight, holding possessions hostage, lost or damaged goods and claims settlements. USDOT records also show Peace of Mind’s license was revoked in January 2008 and reinstated in July 2010, though the company held a current license at press time.
Phone messages and emails seeking comment from Peace of Mind Relocation went unreturned.
Arkidus Home Protection | Miami, Fla.
Angie's List member Andrew Drapkin of Los Alamitos, Calif., says he contacted Arkidus Home Protection, a national company that served the Los Angeles area, in May for a clothes dryer repair covered under his home warranty. After multiple requests, the company scheduled a contractor, Drapkin says. “I canceled the arranged service with the repairman,” says Drapkin, who read negative reviews on Angie’s List alleging the D-rated Arkidus either never answered calls or the handymen they sent performed shoddy repairs.
Drapkin was one of five LA-area members who wrote negative reviews, and 23 reviews filed in 2012 from members in 12 states landed Arkidus in the Penalty Box. Since May, the company received 50 F’s and 5 D’s nationwide. Drapkin’s credit card company refunded his $400 annual policy payment. The Florida Department of Financial Services confirmed an ongoing investigation, and issued a consumer advisory in August. Arkidus’ owner, Reinaldo “Ray” Berges, told Angie’s List Magazine the company closed and that refunds would be issued. Its website says it’s out of business “due to financial loss.”
Reliable Appliance Service | El Cajon, Calif.
In 2012, members filed five F reviews on Reliable Appliance Service complaining about shoddy repairs, charging for unnecessary work and rude service. Angie's List member Dennis Fandrich of Loma Linda, Calif., hired the firm in February to repair his water heater. Fandrich says two weeks later he was still taking cold showers and ended up replacing the heater himself. “I found Angie’s List, so I put up my report,” he says.
Member Theresa Erickson of San Pedro, Calif., says Reliable charged her $365 for parts she didn’t need and repairs that didn’t solve the problem with her dryer. “They replaced and charged me for functioning parts,” she says, adding that her credit card company ended up refunding the charges. The D-rated company, which serves 12 counties, including Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino, didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.