(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a settlement with Scott M. Loewenstine, owner of the Duct Doctor, Ltd., to resolve concerns that his Columbus-area duct cleaning operation violated Ohio consumer law. As a result of the negotiations, Loewenstine has paid more than $15,000 in consumer restitution.
“We are pleased that Mr. Loewenstine has agreed to change his business practices and reimburse consumers,” Attorney General DeWine said. “This agreement provides restitution to past customers and will help protect future customers from unfair business practices.”
Scott M. Loewenstine offered duct, vent, and furnace cleaning, as well as mold removal services and carpet cleaning in the Greater Columbus area. Under his previous business model, Loewenstine routinely advertised low-cost duct cleaning services, then performed a “free mold test” at consumers’ homes and then typically told consumers they would need to pay much more to have the mold removed before he could clean their ducts.
Loewenstine used various business names, including Air Duct Doctor, The Duct Doctor, The Duct Guys LLC, Buckeye Mold Removal, Columbus Dryer Vent, and Total Carpet Cleaning Solutions. He advertised through Val-Pak, and also through Groupon and other online deal sites.
Under the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Loewenstine agrees to comply with applicable consumer protection laws. For example, he agrees to disclose exclusions and limitations in advertisements and to not make misrepresentations about his services. He has paid $15,065 to resolve 14 consumer complaints and has paid an additional $5,000 to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Enforcement Fund to support consumer protection efforts in the state.
DeWine encourages Ohio families to follow these tips before getting their ducts cleaned:
- Be skeptical of claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning. Many of these claims are unsubstantiated by scientific and medical communities.
- Research companies with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau. Get written estimates from several businesses before paying a duct cleaner.
- Be aware that Ohio currently does not require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses.
- If a company claims that mold has been found, conduct a visual inspection yourself. Unless a substantial amount of mold is present, cleaning may be unnecessary. Also, don’t rely solely on an in-home test performed by the air duct cleaner; get a second opinion.
- Check with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for guidelines on having your air ducts cleaned.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly by any business should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.
Duct Doctor AVC (PDF)
Dan Tierney -- 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller -- 614-466-3840