CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Better Business Bureau urges homeowners to use extreme care when selecting a contractor for black mold removal.
Cleveland BBB Operations Director Ericka Dilworth told News 5 black mold removal is a job that requires training and experience, and consumers need to run company background checks before issuing any money.
"Has the contractor had any type of training," Dilworth said.
"Are they registered to do business in the city that you live in? Have you called the city to ask what type of experience have they had with that contractor?"
Steve Loparo told News 5 he was sorry he didn't run background checks on Top Notch Builders LLC, before he booked a mold removal job with the company at his father's Maple Heights home.
Loparo said he gave the company nearly $2,000 up front to start the work.
But Loparo said the company created unexpected delays while on the job, leaving debris and potentially hazardous mold exposure at the house.
"They left it a mess," Loparo said. "I had debris all over the ground. Black mold here in the drywall."
"Then I did some checking on the company, and he doesn't have a permit, he doesn't have a permit to do contracting work in Maple Heights."
"I don't even think he's qualified to do the work that he says he's going to do."
The Cleveland BBB told News 5 it has 10 complaints against company owner Michael Reece, while his company was listed under All Services LLC.
"Many of the complaints that we have against this contractor have gone unanswered," Dilworth said.
"When doing mold remediation, you have to know what you're doing, because if you don't get it out, it can cause incredible health issues for that consumer."
News 5 contacted Top Notch Builders LLC about this case, and the company responded immediately.
The company said it warned Loparo there could be delays, due to another job booked out-of-town.
It said it started Loparo's job without a permit, at the customers request, to keep down costs.
The company has now vowed to work with the Loparo family on a partial refund, and said it will work to solve its complaints and issues with the BBB and the City of Maple Heights.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has important information on mold prevention and removal on its website.