STREATOR, Ill. (WLS) -- Do you know who you're hiring?
One local HVAC company said other people are using their name to get business. They found out when a suburban woman thought she was hiring Air Flows Chicago through social media, and ended up hiring a completely different company with no ties to them. It all led to a call to the police.
"It said, we're offering 50% off for customers," said Shannon Majercin.
The Streator resident found the offer on Facebook while looking for a company to clean her home's air ducts. She said she thought she hired Air Flows Chicago.
"Basically took Air Flows, took all of their information about 'We clean your ducts, we do this, we do that' and made it sound great. And then they show up with a Shop-Vac," she said.
When the technician didn't arrive on time, Majerchin contacted Air Flows Chicago. They didn't know what she was talking about.
"'We don't know who you are, you're not on our schedule', we only do Chicago area, we don't come your direction," said Majercin. "And I was like, oh boy."
When a man with equipment showed up at her home, with what she says looked like a simple Shop-Vac for the air duct cleaning job, Majercin panicked and called the Livingston County Sherriff's Department. The man was not arrested because investigators believe he was just an employee sent by another company, to do what he thought was a legitimate job.
"I don't know if he was going to case my house, I don't know if he was going to try to hurt me. I didn't know anything, so I was terrified," Majercin told the I-Team.
Even though there was no danger, the differences in companies became apparent. The truck looked different from Air Flow's trucks and Air Flow technicians wear a company shirt. The man who showed up to Majercin's had on a shirt with a different company name.
Keinan Buskila owns the real Air Flows Chicago and said his company name is being used all over social media by imposters.
"If someone is not doing the job correctly, he's going to do more damage to your air quality and the system than actually do you any improvement," he warned.
The company Majercin actually hired was Seasonal Home Care of Wheaton.
"The BBB has an F rating for Seasonal Home Care and that's our lowest rating," said Steve Bernas, President of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Chicago.
Thirteen consumers complained that the company did not address the fact that they were unsatisfied with the cleaning of their HVAC, gutters or windows.
"A couple of the complaints alleged that they come with a vacuum and basically, an air compressor and that's it," Bernas said.
In emails, Seasonal Home Care's owner said the company is not a scam and is a small family-owned company in Wheaton. He said that the company does not solicit customers in any other name than Seasonal Home Care.
But, he said, his business used a third party outside marketing company to generate business. He then acknowledged Majercin's complaint saying, "We were unaware of the use of another company name by a third-party marketing company on Facebook. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we addressed it the best we could, and we have since stopped using that marketing company."
The owner also said, "We do try to respond to as many complaints as we can. Please understand it is much easier to get a bad review when a customer is upset than it is to get a good review for a job well done." He disputed technicians showing up with a Shop-Vac, saying they use a HEPA filter vacuum with a 20 gallon compressor."
The BBB said If you decide to hire a company on social media, you should cross reference with the real website and business phone number.
"Most consumers don't do their due diligence ahead of time, do they have insurance , check with the insurance company, what is their corporate name, check with the city that they are operating in that they have a biz license I think consumers in a fast paced social media tend to be too trustworthy," Bernas added.
"That was my biggest mistake. I should have just paid attention," she said.
If you spot a company pretending to be another one on social media you should tell the real company and report it to the social media platform. They will usually investigate.
Air Flows says Facebook has taken pages down when people pretend to be them.