• Action 9 exposes 'free' water test offers

    By: Todd Ulrich

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 exposed how "free" water tests could cost you thousands of dollars for filters most homeowners don't need.

    A Marion County family claims a company scared them into buying a $4,000 filter system and they turned to consumer investigator Todd Ulrich for answers.

    "He had me so fooled. I was scared to take a shower," James Larris said. That's how Larris felt after getting tap water test results.

    When Environmental Quality Assurance called him, he thought it was a county official.

    "They told me every homeowner has to have this done in Florida," Larris said.

    He discovered the man who showed up at his home was from a water filter company. Larris allowed the salesman to test the water anyway.

    Larris said the salesman from EQA told him the water had high and risky bacteria levels.

    "I'm totally convinced it's not safe. That's why I spent $4,000," Larris said.

    The contract Larris signed included a reverse osmosis filter and a whole house UV light to remove "bacteria."

    Within days, Larris had buyer's remorse. He was suspicious about the company's sales tactics, so he contacted the county for water quality test results. Marion County testing found the water in his home to be safe and bacteria free.

    Larris called EQA demanding a refund.

    "They would never reach out to us after calling 10 to 12 times," Larris said.

    EQA is rated F at the Better Business Bureau for misleading sales tactics.

    Action 9 has investigated the company before in a hidden camera test. The salesman at our test home said there was human waste in the water. The utility's testing found it didn't exist.

    Consumer experts say in-home testing to sell filters can be very misleading.

    "They may be able to tell you have hard water, but that's not quite as sexy as bacteria and other scarier things," said BBB President Holly Salmons.

    EQA did not return any of Ulrich's calls.  

    Larris sent a complaint to the Florida attorney general.

    "They should clean up their act. It's not right," Larris said,

    Larris is disputing his debit card charge.

     Don't let a water filter salesmen test for safety. Contact your utility for its test results or call a licensed testing lab if you have well water.  

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