In Your Corner: Power Wash Surprise

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 5, 2009 at 6:57 AM EST

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana'sNewscenter)
At 79 years old, Bea Blake is starting to pay for work that she would have done herself in the past. That's why when a truck pulled up to her home and offered to power wash her house, she decided to get a free estimate.
Bea Blake "he told me if it was more than $200, he'd tell me"
As the brother and sister team washed the house, Bea was never told that it might be higher than the 150-200 dollar estimate, but when it came time to pay, Bea was shocked by a total more than twice what she was quoted
"he told me they used more chemicals than they expected and it was $500, I said, Oh No it's not!"
After Bea said she wouldn't pay the amount, 10 dollars was taken off, she eventually paid 400 dollars, twice the original estimate
We wanted to know how much it would cost to power wash an average size house, so we called a Fort Wayne company who told us while there are many variables that could change the cost, $500 dollars seemed excessive.
Dakotah Pressure Washing Systems, of Fort Wayne, told us their estimates are based on factors like square footage and mold that could be on the house, but they say they almost always stick to the quoted price. They said most companies would charge no more than three hundred dollars for a house similar to this one. The more Bea thought about the incident, the more she felt that she was scammed.
Bea Blake "I told him I was on a fixed income. I'd like to get some money back, but If I can just keep it from happening to someone else"
We spoke with the owner of the company who told us, she felt it was a fair price and said her brother must have given Bea the quote. However, she did agree to refund between 75 and 100 dollars since Bea still feels like she was misled.
Since the company doesn't have any other complaints on record with The Better Business Bureau and agreed to mediate the problem, we decided not to name them. Bea's experience is far too common when it comes to companies that go door to door offering services and there's very little protection for consumers. Our advice, if you're going to have the work done, get a written estimate ahead of time for your best protection.
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