MOUNT DORA, Fla. - The recent cold weather's been tough for a Mt. Dora woman who claims a contractor charged her thousands but never fixed her heater.
She called Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich for results.
“I sleep with my heating pad, my dog and my cat,” Diane Garcia said. She has shivered through many cold nights at her Mt. Dora home for two months. She blames Cool Ducts AC and Heating.
Garcia paid $5,000 for its recommended repairs but claims the contractor never fixed her real problem, which was that she didn’t have any heat.
“It puts me in the hold financially, mentally depressed and I'm cold,” Garcia said.
She contacted Action 9. Ulrich reviewed the company's invoices.
Cool Ducts charged Garcia for extensive mold treatments. She says the company told her mold was a major threat.
“(He said) the mold he found would go through the whole house, and we would be sick,” Garcia said.
She said the tech, Joseph Smither, found a broken part that shut down her heater and that he removed it but never returned to replace it.
“And I still don't have heat,” Garcia said.
Cool Ducts is rated F by the Better Business Bureau.
Smither was arrested two weeks ago for heroin possession.
Ulrich called in AC experts. Mike Brown owns Harris Air Conditioning. Brown told Ulrich the thousands of dollars she spent on mold treatment, including a UV light, was a huge waste of money.
“Did this company take her for a ride?” Ulrich asked.
“Yes,” Brown replied.
“Big time?” Ulrich asked.
“Absolutely,” Brown said.
Brown found key heating components had been removed or not fixed, and he said that made no sense to him.
“Defrost boards and reverse valves are very common available parts,” Brown said.
A Cool Ducts manager told Ulrich the company didn't know the job wasn't finished and it let Smither go for poor performance.
Harris AC had Garcia’s heat back on in 24 hours.
“These were easy repairs to make?” Ulrich asked.
“Correct,” Brown said.
A Cool Ducts AC and Heating manager told Ulrich it will cover Garcia’s heating repair bill. The manager also said the tech's criminal charge has nothing to do with the company.
Cool Ducts AC and Heating response:
When speaking with you I did not have the customer information in front of me. Looking into this I realized who you were speaking about and our company was under the impression that she was fully repaired. We did not know that she was still without heat. You initially asked to speak with Scott Van Bumble who is no longer with our company however he is the one who originally hired Mr. Smithers. After Mr. Smithers went out to Ms. Garcia's home he informed us that she was all fixed. Mr. Smithers was recently let go due to poor workmanship and that was prior to him being arrested. His arrest had nothing to do with us whatsoever.
I spoke with owner and he is willing to cover her cost for the repair that was made on behalf on the job being incomplete. If you could get a copy of the invoice sent over he will be glad to refund her on what it cost to repair her heat. As well as if there are any other questions please let me know. Thank you for your time.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.