Last Updated On: July 19, 2016
Servpro RatingsAverage Rating: 1.10 out of 5
Based On: 13 Reviews
Number Of Comments: 3
Servpro ReportsReported Losses: $110,221.66
Average Reported Losses: $8,478.59
Most Recent Servpro Complaints
Cancellations, No shows, and unfinished jobs, OH MY!
Servpro has completely failed in their own quality assurance process to assist in resolving the far too many problems we’ve had with their franchise located in Grimes, IA and owned by Brian Burkle. I’ve left a review on Yelp, BBB, and a number of other sites. I’ve contacted the Iowa Attorney General’s office, and am considering legal action. I think it is our job as customers to make sure others are well aware of businesses that take advantage of customers and refuse to make things right, lie, yell at customers, deny basic customer service, etc. so others do not fall prey to them. I do not typically have these problems with businesses and have *never* had a problem this big with one. A simple scan of reviews I’ve left on FB pages shows you that most businesses I have hired I’m extremely satisfied with at the end of the process. I am also contacting the BBB and the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
Brian Burkle’s Servpro franchise was hired to complete our mold remediation in mid-July 2015 after we discovered black mold and aspergillus/penicillium mold in late June. The job started 7/20/15. That same day, I forwarded lab results on to Brian Burkle from EM Lab P & K in Newton, IA so that he would know how bad the mold situation is and how seriously to take it. My father, former Haz Mat Coordinator for Central Iowa and Emergency, Health & Safety expert, conducted the testing– a series of swab tests directly on moldy surfaces as well as air cassette samples. Once results were received, dad also consulted with a scientist at ISU Research Labs in Ames, IA to confirm the results were as alarming as he suspected.
Safe spore counts should be between 50-500. Ours were 400 upstairs, 1600 for downstairs family room, where our older daughter napped until mold was discovered. Downstairs guest bedroom/office had 1900 for a spore count. Our younger daughter used to nap in there before mold was found. The mold was determined by our family physician to be the cause of all of our many illnesses the past year. Before the stretch from Fall ’14 through July ’15, neither one of our daughters had ever needed to use Albuterol nebulizer treatments for any upper respiratory health issues. The mold is to blame for that and the lion’s share of our health issues and illnesses that began in late Fall 2014, our physician believes. Our frequent illness continued into Summer 2015, well after the close of cold/flu season, and caused us to really wonder if there was something environmental going on to cause all of this illness even beyond the end of cold/flu season. We now had an answer. During her first year of preschool last year, our older daughter missed the most school days due to illness out of her entire class. The teachers were puzzled because she just could not get healthy and stay healthy, and neither could the rest of the family. The strange thing was that our symptoms did not match up with what other kids were passing around; ours was always upper respiratory mostly, which is common with mold.
Once we found mold we completely abandoned the downstairs. This is still true today, as I type this 2.5 months after I discovered the mold; we still have not regained use of the lower half of our home, our finished basement. We noticed a marked improvement in all of our health. But before then, the girls were ill a minimum of 2 times per month, but usually it was 4-5 times per month, with only 7-9 days between illnesses. My husband and I don’t normally get ill much, but between Nov. ’14 and July ’15 we were both sick at least 2 times per month, with 7-9 days between illnesses as well. Before that stretch of time, I could count on one hand the number of times my husband has been sick in our 14 years of marriage. But that number tripled this past season alone. As a family, we were at the doctor’s office between 5-7 times per month. Once we even had to rush our younger daughter to the ER after she woke up from a nap about 2 feet away from the hidden black mold, because she woke up with stuttered breathing, had a dusky blue-gray appearance, cold mouth, cold extremities, and her breathing couldn’t be controlled. Brian Burkle was made aware of all of this from the very beginning and he knew how desperate we were to get this remediated so we could all be safe and healthy again. Based on our symptoms, we were sitting at level two mold exposure. The third level includes organ failure, cancer, blindness, and death among other awful outcomes. Brian also knew this, and our doctor expressed concern and had us pass that along to Brian Burkle so he would know our case was to be taken seriously and treated immediately.
Unfortunately for us, the mold remediation jobs that we hired Servpro for and that were to amount to less than a full two days of work have been drawn out over nearly 2 full months now (It is Sept. 16 and the first day of mold remediation was July 20), and we are almost out of “open window weather” to counteract the high spore count. Once windows are closed, we will only have the upstairs and downstairs air circulating, thus increasing our exposure to the high spore count downstairs even if we remain using the upstairs portion of our house only. Mold exposure symptoms are reported to have become more severe and longer lasting directly in proportion to the length of exposure time…so the longer we’re exposed to such a high spore count, the further risk there is for damage to our health, and Servpro’s negligence has certainly prolonged our exposure for unnecessary reasons.
These delays have been due to the franchise canceling on us three separate times, 2 of which we didn’t find out until once halfway and once all the way through the day and they never called or emailed to notify us of the cancellation in any manner. They have also dropped the ball multiple times on job completion. We hired Servpro, the professionals, to handle our mold remediation rather than doing the job ourselves because we felt that trained professionals would be able to get the job done more effectively (we didn’t want to risk our health any further, especially the health of our young and developing daughters) than we could with a better guarantee of full remediation of the problem. We also hired them because, being professionals, it is of course assumed that they are well trained and know what they are doing, what they are looking for, etc., and we are not. The reasons we hired Servpro have been left unmet, in a very unsatisfactory manner. Servpro was hired because we wanted the professionals to do the job and minimize the risk of further exposure on our part, but in hiring Servpro, we have very disappointingly found that our exposure has been prolonged. We hired Servpro knowing the cost would be higher out of pocket especially since insurance wasn’t going to cover it, but we were willing to pay for the added assurance that the job would get done correctly, the threat to our family would be greatly reduced if not completely removed, and it would be done well and in a timely manner. However, we have not found any of those concepts to be true. At this point, our hiring them has been a complete waste of time, money, sanity, health, etc.
Day one of mold remediation was to be a 1 day job, on 7/20/15. Crews arrived one 1 hr late, forcing us to miss my older daughter’s swimming lesson. I had to call the crews back multiple times because they left behind a 2 inch chunk of black mold-infected drywall on our carpeted stairs, had spray painted Kilz onto clumps of dirt, debris, mold and dust rather than wiping the surface clean and then spraying it to seal it, and neglected to treat and seal an entire section of wood beam. They came back and did those parts of the job the next day, but before starting told me “Oh we just need to spray Kilz on it, that’s all.” Since I knew it hadn’t been treated at all, I didn’t want them to touch it before I called their manager to ensure they would go through all the steps to remediate it before spraying with Kilz. Manager called them and instructed them accordingly. The day after I had to have them come back again because I found that they had neglected to remove the edge of the carpet that was infected with black mold. As far as I know (being the unprofessional mold remediation specialist that I am), the work is completed to standard, however, with as many ball drops as they had in this process, I wouldn’t be surprised if another mold remediation company came in and pointed out even more mistakes that my untrained eye couldn’t find. I find it reprehensible that they would leave so much work undone and have so many mistakes that even I, and untrained and unprofessional commoner could identify but they could not upon examining their own work. I’m afraid that when I hire the next company, I’ll need to pay to have Servpro’s work re-done to make sure it’s done correctly.
On 7/26 I discover more mold hiding behind the trim in our family room downstairs. This time it is black mold. I call Brian Burkle back to look at it, he tells me he will give me the estimate, etc. on 7/29/15. On 7/30 I try to get ahold of him because he still hasn’t scheduled mold remediation phase two, nor has he given me an estimate. Finally get a reply on 7/31 (the slow replies that take multiple days are commonplace for him, I’ve come to learn). He wants to schedule us for 8/4/15 and I accept, but still does not have an estimate for me. I tell him I’m uncomfortable moving forward with no estimate, no diagram of the work to be done, and no work description (which is what he provided us with in phase one of mold remediation for 7/20/15). I get no response.
8/2 I made another follow up request for an updated work estimate and work outline/summary since the second phase of remediation was to be started in two days on 8/4. He had been neglecting to send me one despite multiple requests. The only “estimate” he sends me is a repeat of the estimate for phase one of mold remediation from 7/20, and keeps insisting it’s updated, keeps telling me to read the entire thing, but the only thing that has changed is the description stating that they will cut so many linear feet, two feet high (which is not what we end up agreeing on) in the living room. It is not an accurate description of what we agreed on in our emails (we agreed on cutting right above black mold, then having crews inspect for further mold and continue to cut away until mold is cut out so we don’t just automatically have two foot high holes in our walls unless necessary). The diagram of the work to be done is incorrect as it is still of the first job from 7/20, and the cost estimate is also wrong as it is the same estimate from the 7/20 work, the date is wrong, etc but he never fixes it no matter how many times I request.
8/2-8/21 A number of emails exchanged discussing and somewhat haggling over how to do the job in the family room. We requested to not take a straight 2 ft high of the drywall (which is their standard), but instead cut right above where the black mold is visible, then proceed to cut away higher and higher if more mold is present above where it is visible to us. We offered to sign documents stating we acknowledged we were choosing to deviate from Servpro’s standard of an automatic 2 ft cut higher than the visible mold. Brian was argumentative and unprofessional about this request, and it was very challenging to get a straight answer from him…which is why the exchange is spread out over 19 days. He eventually agrees to this (as verified in emails that I have supplied to Servpro Corporate).
8/4/15– crews no show on us, per Brian’s decision to direct them to “emergency services” which we learned meant wet basements…certainly not a bigger health threat than what we are experiencing. Servpro not only only no-showed that day, but they failed to inform us at all. I only learned of this because I called them at 4 p.m. after waiting around all day for them, with two little girls packed up and ready to be gone all day. We also relocated our two pet guinea pigs to my parents’ house for the day as required by Servpro for safety reasons.
8/19 The first time I heard back from him after canceling on 8/4 (and not notifying me), asking about rescheduling phase 2 of mold remediation. This means we were avoided and postponed for a little over 2 weeks when our case was supposed to be a priority due to our dangerously high mold spore count.
On both 7/31 and 8/31 he tells me via email he wants to fog the basement again for mold. This action never takes place when mold remediation phase two finally occurs. 8/30 Sets up next attempt at mold remediation phase 2 appt., scheduled for 9/1 at 9 am.
9/1/15 no-showed on us and failed to notify us again, inconveniencing our family for the day. My Dad the EHS expert contacts Brian to apply pressure to get the services done. Brian gives my father a different excuse from what was told to me about the reasons for canceling on us twice now, and is lying to one of us. Service gets scheduled for the next day, Wed 9/2 at 9, no matter what.
9/2 Prompt arrival at 9 a.m. I ask what they’ll be doing on the job since Brian still hasn’t provided a properly updated work estimate/description /diagram; I don’t trust the job will be done as we agreed since he has been stubborn to provide the work estimate to me. Talking with the crew confirms they were going to automatically cut 2 ft high rather than cut right above visible black mold, inspect for more mold and cut away more if needed to avoid removing more wall than necessary as Brian and I had agreed in our emails. Call Brian to inform him his crew is uninformed of how they are to proceed per our agreement. He yells at me, talks over me, insists 2 ft high is the standard and that’s how they’ll do it rather than listening to the customer and recalling the documented email exchange we had, detailing how he and I agreed the work would be done. Finally agrees to do things the way we agreed to after I have to yell over him to get him to re-agree to doing things the way we agreed to do them per our emails, updates his crew. 10:44 a.m. Cody (from the Servrpo crew that did mold remediation on 9/2/15) calls and informs me the work is done. We stay away til 5 pm since we had to be gone due to fogging that Brian said would be done. House doesn’t smell like fog when we return home.
9/3/15 I don’t trust Brian to tell me the truth (due to how he’s conducted himself unprofessionally) as to whether or not fogging was actually done in the basement on 9/2/15, so I call Cody (from the crew on 9/2/15) back at 10:22 a.m. on 9/3/15 to get a straight answer… It was not done and neither was the antimicrobial sealant (Kilz is what they apply for this according to the techs) Both were listed in the estimate and we were told they were part of the plan. 10:27 a.m. I call Servpro and inform Brian the fogging was not done. They return my call (Emily/receptionist) at 1:31 p.m.; I’m informed they will need us to be gone AGAIN on 9/8 so they can finish yet another job they left unfinished.
At this point, I contact Servpro Corporate to inform them. They say they’ll give Brian 5 days to resolve the issue (it was not resolved in 5 days…not even in 7 days). I forward all of my email documentation to Servpro Corporate. 9/4/15 Brian tells me he’s cancelling the basement fogging (that was left undone from 9/2/15 mold remediation phase 2) scheduled for 9/8/15 because of having to deal with corporate due to my complaint. I am essentially blamed for some of the mistakes that have occurred and for the 3rd postponement/cancellation in this nearly 2 month process. Every single failure on their part can easily be traced back to the crew or to Brian. The blame rests solely on their shoulders, not mine. It was his fault or his crews’ fault that the jobs were not getting done the way they should have been. A simple follow up inspection performed by Brian would have revealed this before it became such a roaring problem. It was Brian’s fault for not providing a complete work estimate with detailed work plan and diagram — had he provided that, perhaps his crews would have been better prepared and informed of the job they were to do when they showed up on 9/2/15. But he chose to try to blame me.
9/16/15 Brian told me the fogging that they forgot to do on 9/2/15 wouldn’t have been effective anyway as a way of getting me to drop the subject. So, either that means he was trying to sell me a service I didn’t actually need, or he’s just trying to cover his tail now that he’s dropped the ball again. I asked him why it wasn’t necessary when he had brought it up twice that he wanted to fog the basement again in two separate emails leading up to 9/2/15. He never responded. They also neglected to remove the edge of the family room carpet that was affected by black mold as it rested right up against the black mold on the trim and wall. Additionally, they did not take the step of sealing off the treated area with a coat of antimicrobial Kilz. They named these steps that they neglected to do in the work estimate that they gave me that he tried to pass off as new and updated, but in fact was our old estimate from job #1 on 7/20/15. Even though he did not give me a properly updated estimate, he did say these same steps would be done on 9/2/15, and they were not.
In their own customer information form for water damage that I had to sign, they stated in #8, “OVERLOOKED ITEMS: Although our supervisors inspect all work, you should accompany the supervisor on the final walk-through and bring any overlooked items or concerns to the supervisor’s attention.” Brian Burkle, the supervisor, has not once been to my home to inspect the work his crews have completed. Had he followed up on his own policies we wouldn’t have had as many problems.
The length of time exposed to mold and the spore count are a large part of what determines just how bad people react to mold, and due to Brian Burkle’s negligence on our case, we are sitting at an extra two months and counting of prolonged exposure.
We have also contacted Servpro Corporate to help oversee this process of negotiating, but that has proven to be ineffective in our opinion. They said Brian would be given 5 days to resolve the issue. At first, I had suggested 50% off all of their services (retroactive and going forward to finish the job), which I thought was very fair, however the regional trainer for Servpro in Iowa who was overseeing our negotiations repeatedly turned down what I felt was a more than fair offer, considering what all we had been through. He instead strongly urged me to not have Brian Burkle and his crew back in our home at all anymore, and strongly urged me to come up with a monetary figure to make an offer for them to pay me and walk away to start over with a new mold remediation company. I told him that if I am settling out of court and having to walk away from holding them accountable any further for damage to our health, unfinished work, wasted time, all the cancellations, dropped balls, etc. then the figure would be significantly higher than the deal I had offered them that had been refused. I came back with $10k as my offer. The offer was countered with an offer for Brian Burkle’s franchise to continue the work (no discount) and have me work with Brian’s General Manager, Andrew and leave Brian out of it. Considering a lot of the problems I was having were also with his crew, why would I accept that offer to have them continue doing business with us? Why would I want to do business with Brian’s franchise at all? Especially after the way I had been treated. That is the only offer that was made in the 5 days corporate gave him to resolve it, but then it continued to drag on as allowed by corporate. I countered with redirecting their attention to the monetary offer they requested from me. The counter I received Sept. 15, 2015 was to have the portion of the bill from 9/3/15 (approx $200) dropped. I wouldn’t have paid that bill anyway since they never fully completed the work, so that was a paltry offer (they forgot to fog the basement and didn’t spray Kilz over mold-affected areas to seal, left carpet that had black mold on it). They also offered to pay half of our HVAC cleaning and sanitizing through a company of Brian’s choosing who happens to be a person Brian regularly subcontracts with…but why would I trust him to hire someone for me? He wanted me to waive my rights to hold Servpro accountable any further if I accepted that final offer. We feel that the two offers he has made us so far have been pitiful; the most ever offered was $300 for all that trouble, prolonged exposure, multiple unfinished jobs, 2 single day jobs that have been dragging on for 2 months and counting now. They also wanted me to waive my right to hold Servpro responsible any further based on that $300 offer for paying half the HVAC cleaning bill through Brian’s subcontractor. With the harm they’ve done and the trouble they’ve caused, our right to hold them accountable is certainly worth more than $300. They are in violation of their own Corporate Quality Assurance policy as far as resolving this in 5 business days by allowing it to drag on until day 8. Their first letter to me about trying to resolve this case stated they would work diligently to make sure the issues were resolved…they’ve made a minimal effort and have closed the case. After one offer from us and one counter offer from Brian in the 5 day period corporate gave him (I refer to it as a “non-offer” since it was not at all offering any discounts or any monetary settlement at all, just an offer to continue business with his franchise but leave Brian out of it), they gave up and told us to take it up with the BBB.
My point in writing all of this is to make sure others are aware of the type of “service” they might also receive if they every hire Servpro for disaster remediation (mold, water, fire, etc.). Again, I deeply regret having hired them.
Servpro – 3600 SE Destination Dr Grimes, IA 50111 United States | 515-986-3711
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