Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Moldy Business

You may recall from my older post, "Mold and Morality," that I had several "mold remediators" come to my house to check out our mold problem that proved to be essentially non-existent. One of these operations wanted me to pay $125 for the honor of having been inspected by one of their "trained professionals", who declared our house "contaminated".

I sent this letter in response:

I sent an email outlining my thoughts on this to your assistant, but apparently she did not forward it to you.

While I was not present when you or your agent inspected my house, my wife relayed to me that she was told repeatedly that the house was "contaminated". This prompted me to have the house tested by the same service used by our hospitals here in (our little town), at considerable cost to me. You may contact my attorney for these results, but suffice it to say that the living quarters of the home were found to be completely free of mold. There was a minimal amount of mold in the crawlspace, an amount that our inspector stated was less than or equal to virtually any other home in our area.

While researching this situation, I came across this video from KNBC (, and it was eerily remniscent of the entire experience with (your company).

With this in mind, I will respectfully request that you withdraw the inspection fee, and we will part with no hard feelings. If this is not acceptable, we can continue further discussion with the Better Business Bureau serving as arbitrator.


Dr. Dalai

Of course, this did not make the owner of the company very happy. He replied:

As to your email transmission:

Having checked her emails, (the secretary) did not receive any emails from you to forward to anybody.

Your wife was told the crawl space was contaminated – that’s where the inspection took place, based on Mrs. Dalai’s request.

Please furnish me the name of your attorney; I will be glad to ask him for the results – of course, you will have to release him to do so.

I am happy your living quarters are free of mold – your crawl space is not. If you would like some good information on mold in crawl spaces please visit our website and click on Mold Facts; then click on About Crawl Spaces (Read More).

There is not a minimal amount of mold in your crawl space – in fact some areas require either a dry ice blasting or baking soda blasting to remove the mold. Please view the attachment for pictures of your crawl space.

With all these added inspections at great cost to you, what is the problem with paying us the agreed upon amount of $125.00 to visually inspect the crawl space?

I refused to look at the video you bring up simply because I know it will infuriate me. I would expect better from an M.D. but apparently your aim is to bully and intimidate. Please look at the attached testimony of (another MD who liked the service).

I have hard feelings - (our) technicians are professionals – let’s have the discussion with the Better Business Bureau.

You owe this company $125.00 and I will turn it over for collection.

Neither one of us needed to waste this time.

Mr. X
Mold Company.

Well, I'm so sorry he took it that way. My final response to all of this was:

Mr. (President):

Apparently my email to (your assistant) ended up in her spam folder, which I suppose is appropriate.

The bottom line to our discussion is this: my wife, who is not a scientist, was told repeatedly by your agent that the HOUSE was contaminated, and that a $10,000 course of remediation was necessary to fix this. Note that he used the word HOUSE, and not simply crawlspace. That is a significantly different level of abnormality, as I'm sure you will agree. Based on our independent report, I'm certain we can also agree that the living quarters are free of mold. As to the crawlspace, our inspector did note small amounts of mold, which he stated were no greater than any other house in the area would reveal upon similar inspection. I'm sure you don't wish to imply that absolutely every home in (our small town) is contaminated and in need of your services.

I'm sorry you feel the video clip would upset you, Mr. (President), as that is not my goal. A consumer-minded vendor would be interested to know how his agents are coming across to his customers. The video provides a very good example of how one should NOT conduct themselves in this particular business. And I'm sorry your feelings are hurt by all of this. I have no doubt that your techs are professionals, and I assume they have all been trained by (Big Cleaning Franchiser) methods since the establishment of your franchise in 2006. That is beside the point.

I am quite happy for Dr. (customer)'s positive outcome. His letter shows that he did have contamination in the living quarters of his house. I do not.

Please refrain from threats of collection agencies. I am respectfully disputing this charge, given the fact that your agent repeatedly declared the house contaminated, and followed this with a hard-sell pitch for your services. Independent testing later proves that the level of "contamination" was significantly overstated, as the living quarters are not involved. In this circumstance, use of a collection agency would be considered harassment. Beyond this, your comment concerning my profession is uncalled for in this setting, and is basically harassing as well. I am not attempting to bully or intimidate you or anyone else. A third party reading this communication would suggest just the opposite.

I certainly agree that neither one of us needed to waste valuable time on this. If you wish to have the BBB involved in this matter, I will certainly be glad to forward this communication thread to them.

By the way, your company is listed as a member of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, or NORMI. Their Regulations page,, states explicitly:

§100.107. Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Requirement.

(a) Conflict of interest.

(1) A licensee shall not perform both mold inspection and mold remediation on the same project.

I think that's all that needs to be said in this matter.

Dalai, M.D.

I have yet to hear back from the gentleman. Perhaps that is indeed all that needs to be said. Caveat emptor, as usual.


Anonymous said...

wow, I would be interested to find out how this ends especially concerning Mr. President's comments.

Too bad, Mr. President doesn't realize you will win (wink win)

Anonymous said...

Good job :)
I know I would have just written out the check. Probably why we still have VR, oh well.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it it's to bad you could hold the BBB over the VR reps head for "misleading advertising" but you didn't hear that from me ;)

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we get to call you
"Oldiewan tooMoldie"

Anonymous said...

NORMI or NORML? close in abbreviations, but that would explain why he saw a lil bit of mold as a major contamination.... "Yo, Dalai mom, you have like some major mold growing up there...Lotsa and lotsa mold. Hey, do you mind if I have a few of those potato chips? Do you have any soda too? Wow- Rice Krispies treats and brownies too!! This place is awesome..Yeah, well, I said (or think I said) it's like gonna cost you like $10K to free your house of this mold but you old man's a doc so he can afford it. Besides we can get some seriously good bud with those kinda bucks so like, what do you think?"