FORT WASHINGTON, Md.( FOX 5 DC) - A Maryland man says a fast-talking trio who specialize in swindling senior citizens came to his home - all thanks to a newspaper ad for air-duct cleaning.
The air-duct cleaners came to the man's Fort Washington neighborhood for what was supposed to be a $99 job - instead is cost thousands.
While the ad in the Washington Post indicated that the crew would clean your vents - but Bill Butler says the men who showed up in a Sears truck did anything but that.
"The head tech went downstairs and he immediately made the transition from the vents to the furnace which was a little bit appalling," Butler said.
The man came up with a litany of new things he said Butler would need - including two lights for $600 apiece.
Butler says the men used intimidation tactics - telling the 74-year-old and his wife that they were in danger of becoming infected from mold and mildew.
The tech also made Butler pay before getting to work.
"We have Sears cards but the Sears cards were old, we've been with Sears for 50 years and he said, 'Well these cards aren't working, can I have your Social Security number.' I said, 'No you can't have my Social Security card.' He says 'Do you have another card you can use,' I said 'Yes, I have a Visa,' he got approval and at that point shut everything down," Butler said.
Butler says nearly $6,000 was charged to his card.
"It is crazy, especially because my daughter talked to someone out in Kansas and they have the same type of the business and the most they charge for anything is $500," Brenda Butler said.
For Butler, the experience was eye-opening
"It was a sham. I fell for, I feel bad for myself but you know what when I stop and think about it, that this company is doing now," he said.
Consumer Advocacy group Checkbook.org says air duct cleaning is unnecessary. The Butler family is considering retaining an attorney.
Sears has respondeded to FOX 5, confirming that the crew is associated with their company. They say Butler has been offered a full refund while they investigate the matter.
Sears offered the following statement:
"At Sears, the satisfaction of our members is our top priority. Our member solutions team has looked into Mr. Butler's issue and is working to resolve the issue by providing him with a refund. We hope he remains a loyal Sears customer."