Chimney company and dangerous repairs

Seven On Your Side
April 30, 2013 8:23:45 PM PDT
There's a warning for anyone with a fireplace and a chimney.

At least one chimney cleaning company is offering cheap services and may be taking homeowners to the cleaners.

In the process, they're leaving their fireplaces and chimneys in dangerous condition.

"Are you preying on old people," 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"Are you serious?" said Chris Randall, the Foreman at All American Chimney.

You bet we're serious. Since the winter, 7 On Your Side's been following a trail of problems throughout the Garden State.

They are centered on a Long Island business, All American Chimney and Duct Cleaning.

"They took advantage of him. He's 80 year old. They used scare tactics, he was just scared," said Robert Jazicoff, victim's son.

Robert Jazicoff says his dad was called out of the blue and offered a chimney cleaning for just $29.

But after showing up, he was told he needed emergency repair work and a new chimney liner $1,800.

30 miles away it was the same pattern.

"He goes down to the cellar and comes up and says, 'Oh you've got a problem,'" said Rebecca Cox-Roseland, a homeowner.

"He came up and said, 'You know you need a new liner," said Mrs. Driver, a homeowner.

Two more elderly homeowners were visited in the same town.

Both say they were cold called-offered the cheap sweep.

"So $29 went to $4,000?" Pineda asked.

"Evidently it came to $4,200 and I got a senior discount," Cox-Roseland said.

"They said at first it was $2,000, then he said $1,500 if he did it today," Driver said.

"We failed them, it's a failed inspection," said Thomas Jacobsen, Roseland Building Inspector.

All three jobs flunked local building inspections and a $4,000 fine.

All officials said emergency repair work left each customer in danger with liners not sealed or sized correctly letting fumes leak out.

"You're going to hurt someone do you understand? Someone's going to get hurt," Pineda said.

"No, they're not saying the fumes could have backed up," Randall said.

"It could've been a carbon monoxide problem, absolutely!" said Mickey Quinn, a building inspector.

"What was wrong with this job?" Pineda asked.

"Everything from soup to nuts, not installed properly, proper inspections were taken in place, improper lining installed," said Sal Trippi, a plumbing inspector.

"Everything down there is wrong, what's going on?" Pineda asked.

"Not everything is wrong, you're making a fuss out of nothing," Randall said.

"I'm making a fuss, you got four guys from the town down there telling you that what you did was dangerous," Pineda said.

"There's a few mistakes OK, people make mistakes, I'm sure you've made mistakes, OK?" Randall said.

"I didn't make mistakes that have to do with people lives," Pineda said.

But the owner apologized and refunded all the homeowners cash, but denied doing unnecessary work.

"Since they knew you were on our side it definitely helped out, if anyone needs help call you guys," Jazicoff said.

"How much is it for?" Pineda asked.

"$3,800," Cox-Roseland said.

"What do you think about getting it back?" Pineda asked.

"I think it's wonderful and I love ABC!" Cox-Roseland said.