Fayetteville woman gets nearly $5k refund on dehumidifier that was never hooked up

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- When you hire a company to do work in your home, you put trust in them that they're going to do the job, but imagine months after paying for it, the work was never completed. This is exactly what happened to 74-year-old Myra Shambley,

"I feel it's horrible that they would take advantage of somebody so much just to make a dollar," Myra said.

It all started In March when Bug Out, the termite and pest company, she pays to protect her Fayetteville home took a look at her crawlspace.

She said the representative told her that the moisture was high in the crawlspace.

Myra was surprised since she already had temperature-controlled vents in her crawlspace, but trusted the company and signed this contract with Bug Out to install a dehumidifier for $4,750.

She financed the deal and the dehumidifier was put in her crawl space. Bug Out also sealed her vents.

She thought all was good, until the representative with Bug Out came out six months later for an inspection and told her she now had standing water in her crawl space.

"He showed me a brick that had water there and he said, 'See that brick, it got water, it's been up that high,' I said 'Oh God.' He told me that for me to put a sump pump in," she adds.

A sump pump with a price tag of an additional $7,000.

Myra said she was not feeling good about spending that much money so she had her friend Stan Butler come over and take a look at her crawlspace. He suited up in his knee pads and headed in the crawlspace and Stan said he quickly found the problem, but not with standing water, instead with the dehumidifier Bug Out installed six months earlier.

"It wasn't even hooked up and where I was, was completely dry," Stan said.

Myra and Stan said the supervisor with Bug Out came to Myra's home.

Stan said the supervisor took a look in the crawlspace and said, " I don't see any standing water, and you definitely don't need a sump pump."

But Stan and Myra said he told them she still needs the dehumidifier hooked up as he was still getting a high moisture reading in the crawl space.

"He said, 'It's about 19 percent moisture.' Well, it's been closed up all summer with a dehumidifier that doesn't work and it's just getting to 19 percent moisture reading. They created a problem underneath her house," Stan said.

Frustrated, Myra and Stan got in touch with me.

"What I want them to do is take their stuff out of here and put my crawl space back like it they found it." Myra said.

I got in touch with Bug Out's corporate office and they immediately sent Myra a check for $4,750 for the dehumidifier.

When it comes to why it was never hooked up in March, Bug Out stated, "This was due to human error and poor customer follow-up due to a recent Branch Manager opening. Bug Out neglected to contract with a local electrician to connect the dehumidifier to a power source with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFI). Coordinating and quality checking all dehumidifier installations is the responsibility of the local branch manager. We have implemented changes to our installation policies to prevent similar events from happening in the future."
When it comes to why Myra was told she needed a sump pump, the representative with Bug Out stated, "Part of every standard dehumidifier service agreement and installation is a 6-month inspection. Our employee was conducting that inspection when he discovered that the installation had not been completed. Our employee disclosed the issue upon completion of the inspection and also presented Mrs. Shambley additional, reasonable moisture control options for her crawlspace." He also added, "It is against company policy to sell a current or prospective customer any product or service without demonstrated and documented need."

As for Myra, besides getting a full refund for the dehumidifier, Bug Out removed it, and then removed the vents they sealed, and put new vents that open and close depending on the environment. It's a resolution Myra is happy with. She said to me, "If it wasn't for you, I don't know where I'd be. I'd still be making payments, that's what would be happening. Thank you so very much. I can't thank you enough."

Here are the Troubleshooter Takeaways when you hire a company to do work at your home. If a company says you need something done, ask to see proof of the problem. Next, once the job is complete, make sure you take the time to double-check the work to make sure it's done, and you're happy with it. Lastly, it never hurts to get a second opinion if you have questions about what a company is recommending you need done.
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