Saturday, July 03, 2010

Servpro: Looking For A Few Good Criminals & Vandals

Unfortunately my recent bad experience with Servpro, a national disaster cleanup and restoration service which is individually and locally owned and operated as a franchise business is far from the exception. In Atlanta, Georgia, lawyers from the law firm of Pate & Brody had to file a lawsuit against the local Servpro that was supposed to carefully remove sensitive files from a home business for safe keeping. Instead, a Servpro employee stole a box of sensitive papers so that they could pad their income through identity theft of the couple. While Servpro publicly claims that they do background checks on their employees, the truth according to these lawyers is that is was common knowledge that this particular Servpro would hire anyone, and ignore background checks.

The Servpro worker in the this Atlanta case withdrew more than $10,000 from the bank accounts of the couple they were entrusted to care for their belongings. Further, Servpro workers opened more than 60 credit card accounts using the stolen identity information.

In Michigan, a serious convicted felon was hired by Servpro and sent into clients homes where they had access to bank information, cash, jewelry and other valuables.

In Illinois, a local Servpro franchise double billed for the same work and overcharged an insurance company by at least $9,000. In addition, many valuables disappeared from the client who notified the police about probable employee theft by Servpro employees. This client claims to be out nearly $30,000 in serious losses including damage to the new home by careless Servpro employees.

In Tennessee, a local Servpro was billing clients and insurance companies high garbage disposal fees, however was actually illegally dumping this fire or flood cleanup damage debris into a local creek creating an environmental mess. After an investigation by the local ABC TV station, Servpro finally admitted to the illegal dumping allegations. Falling Water Creek in Tennessee contaminated this water system with both chemicals and debris, leading to both a state and police investigation of the company's business practices.

On the Internet bad reports about local Servpro franchises flourish. The experience of many unhappy customers tells the story of a company that is run very unprofessionally in many local franchises.

The local Servpro that was assigned to do my housefire cleanup was certainly no better. I have private detective software and a background check on one of the Servpro managers who gave me his business card proves a record with a theft citation by the police and other citations. As far as the other workers, I don't know about them. But when their boss has a criminal background, you can only guess.

Right away my mother's jewelry disappeared from a bedroom where no one was even doing the house cleanup work. And a silver set valued at about $1,000 quickly disappeared as well. Sensitive bank information of mine was found out in a dumpster contracted by Servpro, so was an entire filled plastic crate of DVDS, many of which were so new that they weren't viewed yet by me. A scanner connected to my business office computer had the lid opened, was smashed with a hammer, then the lid shut. A $1,000 crystal lamp was smashed inside the house by the Servpro vandals. New and mint unopened rare diecast cars that I won on auctions on Ebay were found in a dumpster by me. One of my good computer monitors was out on a balcony where Servpro workers intended to throw it off the balcony and smash it. A tall bust of Julius Caesar in my entrance hall had the head smashed in my a hammer. It was worth hundreds of dollars. Every chair to a beautiful 1952 vintage dining room set was thrown away. A giant mirror that belonged to a huge antique wood piece of furniture handcrafted in a prison was trashed and smashed by Serpro workers. A giant 1/3 scale Royal Doulton Afghan dog figure worth between $550 to $1200 was deliberated smashed with a hammer by Servpro employees.

One day I was working in the backroom were the fire was, and the Servpro workers didn't know that I was in the house, because it's a large house. I heard repeated sounds of glass being broken and laughter. I wondered what the heck was going on.

The fact of the matter is that Servpro lied to me that anything of value would be carefully salvaged and put in the Pod for safe keeping. Servpro put nothing in the Pod other than one brand new carpet still in the plastic tube that I complained in front of police was thrown in the dumpster by Servpro employees. I was told that only obvious garbage would be trashed, not quality items of value.

A number of religious books that I like to collect such as a beautiful hard cover edition of the Quran and some excellent hardcover Christian reference library books were thrown in the garbage like common trash. These books deserved to be treated with great respect and carefully boxed up for safe keeping, not treated like garbage.

So much of my computer is missing, including software discs and other parts, I wonder how I'll ever restart it. Some of my home theater receiver was trashed by Servpro some not. A perfectly good TV stand was thrown out by Servpro workers, capable of holding a a 40inch or larger digital TV.

Vandalism of the property of clients of Servpro is far from professional business conduct. But then again, a Servpro employee in Knoxville was arrested after he went on a vandalism spree of their offices after being fired. But if this company hires felons, identity thieves, people cited by police for theft as managers and other criminal types, hiring vandals is much farther removed.

One of the Servpro managers didn't much like the last post I wrote about my bad experience with the company. But why blame me. They acted really unprofessionally. And they called the police and had my brother arrested for telephone harassment after he made four phone calls to their business demanding that some boss contact us right away for all of the damage they caused that day when their workers were left unsupervised and went on a destruction rampage in my home. We wanted any further work to stop until this situation was called to their attention. After trashing so much of our home, the manager called and wanted a couple of shovels, a plastic waste bin and a respirator that they left behind. They were told that they could pick up their property. There was no problem. But once again Servpro made a big deal out of the matter and they sent the police to pick up just these items.

Speaking of shovels. Servpro employees actually used shovels on the hardwood floors in my home, creating thousands of dollars of new damages to the home beyond the fire damage.

A housefire or a flood is bad enough. But a bad disaster cleanup company can be much worse.