Homeowners with a mold problem in their house have found that the cost of cleanup can vary widely, said Mike Schatz, owner of Environix, a national mold inspection and cleanup company. He recently launched Toxic Fraud Watch, a program designed to protect consumers from mold contractors with bad intentions.
“I'm amazed by the audacity of contractors to charge such outlandish prices,” Schatz said. “We're not just talking a few extra dollars here, oftentimes we encounter bids that are $10,000 or $20,000 beyond what is reasonable.”
The problem is not limited to any single region, he said. Recently, states with severe mold problems such as Texas and Louisiana have enacted legislation to protect consumers from unscrupulous practices.
Even with legislation, the vast majority of homeowners are left to decide on their own if a bid is reasonable, Schatz said. Toxic Fraud Watch is a bid reviewing service where homeowners can send a bid from a local mold contractor and will be told if it's reasonable.
“The goal isn't to check every last detail but to provide consumers with a general idea if the price is legitimate, ”Schatz said. Environix is offering the service for free, although Schatz said he is concerned about the volume of inquiries he may receive. “I will keep offering the service as long as I've got the manpower to respond,” he said.
Additional information is available at www.environix.com.