How To Choose A Carpet Cleaning Company – Cape Coral – Sanibel – Fort Myers

Below is an exact reprint from The New-Press about a local carpet cleaning company called Steaming Mad Carpets. This company advertises in local coupon books and is now in the cross-hairs of an investigative reporter with The News-Press.

When hiring a carpet, tile or upholstery cleaning company be sure to check out their reputation.  Chances are the lowest guy in town could leave you with an experience similar to what’s being reported in The New-Press.  Is this the type of company you want to invite into your home? 

A quality carpet cleaning company should be highly rated with Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau.  They will have certified technicians, insurance to cover the homeowner in the event of employee theft or damage to your property, up to date workers compensation insurance and will NOT participate in bait and switch games.  Most carpet cleaning company’s will NOT ask for CASH payment in advance and will offer a rock solid 14 day service guarantee IN WRITING.  I can also assure you of this, they will not drive off as is alleged in the article, when you ask to see the company’s license to do work.

Tru Clean is a family owned environmentally responsible carpet, tile and upholstery cleaning company serving all of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel, Lee, Charlotte and Collier County.  Our technicians are certified by the world’s most respected certification body for textile professionals and we are an “A” rated Super Service Award recipient by Angie’s List.  Tru Clean is also A+ Rated with the Better Business Bureau.

For more information on Tru Clean check us out online or visit us at Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. We are also available 24/7 at 239-541-4888.

Here is the News-Press article on Steaming Mad Carpets:

Don’t Be Taken By This Cleaner (News-Press.Com 11-17-2013)  Melanie Payne – Reporter The News-Press

“I wonder if the owner of Steaming Mad Carpets chose the name because that’s how the company would make customers feel.

Customers are angry about what they see as deceptive advertising and the company policy of paying cash for the carpet cleaning before the work gets started.

David Wilson responded to a coupon in the Better Coupon Book. What attracted him, Wilson said, was the left side of the coupon where it says “Good Steward of Jesus Christ. John 3:16.”

That sort of thing appeals to older people, Wilson said. It implies trustworthiness.

Another thing that appeals to older people is a good deal. And Steaming Mad Carpets advertises a $55 rate to steam clean up to five rooms and $99 to steam clean tile and grout. Of course, there’s an asterisk next to this statement, and at the bottom of the coupon, in a font so small those same older people likely can’t read, it says, *Restrictions Apply.

That’s why when Steaming Mad arrived at the Wilson’s home, the price quoted for the carpet and grout cleaning was $400.

And here’s the kicker:  Before Steaming Mad would start the job, the Wilson’s would have to pay them in cash; no checks, no credit cards.

That’s our company policy, Wilson said the woman told him. That’s when Wilson also began to question other things and asked what they would be doing for $400 that was different than just scrubbing the tile. He also asked to see the company’s license to do the work.

Wilson said the woman indicated she would have to go to the truck to get the license number, but when she got in, she and the man who accompanied her drove away.

Wilson’s complaint echoes those of other consumers who have complained to the Better Business Bureau and online about the carpet and grout cleaning company’s advertised prices and payment policy.

Steaming Mad answered the issues of pricing and upfront payment in an email, stating in part:

In our business, we have consultants and their job is just that: to consult on what is best for the customer and their carpet. If the consultant feels all that is needed is the pre-treatment (coupon price), then the consultant will say so. If the consultant believes the carpet is in poor or deteriorated condition, and we might be able to restore the carpet, potentially saving the homeowner thousands in new carpet costs, then they will advise on that.

The decision on what to do is left up to the homeowner, the company said, and clearly spelled out in the contract.

As for the up-front payment, that’s because the company gets bad checks, checks that never get mailed as promised, or as Steaming Mad calls them: The disappearing act people. We arrive at their home to clean their carpet. They are there for five minutes, and say, “I have to take off, but I will be back before you are done. You won’t see them again. We just got stiffed.”

The reason they don’t take credit cards, Steaming Mad said, is because of the transaction fees.

With all these factors, if we took payment at the end, we would have to raise our prices to compensate for the con artists, thereby hurting the good and honest people.

I think Steaming Mad Carpets left off one of the reasons the company demands an upfront payment before doing the work and won’t accept checks or credit cards. And that’s because people tend not want to pay for work that’s not done right.

A business relationship is built on trust, and any company that can’t trust you to pay for the work they do, shouldn’t be trusted to do the work.”

UPDATE – 12/1/2013 –  Melanie Payne – Investigative Reporter – The News-Press

On December 1st, Melanie Payne from The News-Press provided an update to her article about Steaming Mad Carpets.  Below is the update to her previous article:

Steaming Mad Carpets is steaming mad at me.

I wrote about this company two weeks ago after a man complained Steaming Mad Carpets LLC advertises a cheap price but when they came to do the job, the price was much higher. And to make matters worse, the company insisted on payment – in cash – before starting the job.

In response to the column, Steaming Mad’s owner, Thomas Cruz, blasted an email to my bosses, colleagues and about anyone else at The News-Press for whom there is a publicized email address, demanding my “immediate permanent termination.” In his nearly 1,500-word rant, Cruz made one valid point: The source I used did not use his real name.

This, to my knowledge, was the first time someone had used a fake name in any article I’ve written. And I’m sorry about it. I didn’t know David Bowlby lied and I should have caught him. The experience made me know how people feel after they’ve been scammed.

When I confronted Bowlby, he ‘fessed up, saying he had used his first and middle names because his wife was afraid Steaming Mad would retaliate against them.

Bowlby contends nothing else he said was untrue, and he apologized for misleading me. But I told him his actions damaged his credibility and mine.

Although Bowlby didn’t want to use his name, there is no shortage of people complaining about Steaming Mad Carpets. There were seven complaints with the Better Business Bureau. And people had complained to the owner of the Better Coupon Book, which runs Steaming Mad’s ad.

Pamela Gastineau of Cape Coral wasn’t reluctant to go on the record about her experience with Steaming Mad Carpets. Gastineau said a few things bothered her about Steaming Mad after they arrived at her home in early November to clean a 9’x12’ rug:

The price quoted was almost twice the price advertised for five rooms.

She was asked to sign for the job before it was started.

The job was cash only. The company doesn’t take credit cards or checks.

Gastineau dismissed her uneasiness about those red flags until the woman asked for payment.

“I told her, ‘When you get the job done,’” Gastineau said. To which the woman replied: “You pay me now.”

When Gastineau refused, “She shook my hand and walked out the door.”

Jack Marlowe, who owns the Better Coupon Book, said he’s been fielding so many angry customer calls about Steaming Mad he will no longer allow the company to advertise in the direct mail book. Marlowe has been in business more than 20 years, and Steaming Mad was damaging his reputation, he said. It was too late to keep Steaming Mad from appearing in the December book, but Marlowe said, that’s the last time.

I didn’t set out to find people to try to damage Steaming Mad Carpet’s business. I wrote the column to make a point: Never, ever pay upfront for work done in your home and especially, do not pay in cash.

Contact:; 239-344-4772; 2442 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, 33901. and twitter “@tellmel”

Melanie Payne

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.