Like any other industry, the mold business has its share
of scams, cons and rip off artists who seek to profit from your lack
of knowledge about mold.
The worst perpetrators of mold scams are mold removal contractors who
also offer mold inspections and mold testing services. Their
creating non-existent mold problems and charging you thousands of
dollars to fix them.
JUST SAY NO THANKS!
If you encounter a mold inspector who also does mold removal (or
visa-versa) just say NO THANKS. There's plenty of quality
contractors available that don't do both. And especially watch out
for contractors who offer FREE inspections. That's a major red flag!
Many contractors offer "FREE" clearance testing also, (which is
equivalent to grading their own homework). Don't fall for it!
Clearance testing is crucial to the mold remediation process and
should never be performed by a mold removal contractor waiting to
get paid for his work.
AVOID BEING SCAMMED. The
best way to avoid getting scammed this way is to avoid using mold
removal contractors for mold inspections. AMI is not in the mold
removal business and therefore we have no vested interest in how
your inspection and testing comes out. Our position is always
unbiased and neutral. But even if you don't choose AMI for you
inspection and testing needs, be sure whoever you do choose is not
looking for repair work for himself.
information can help you avoid getting scammed and ensure that your mold
handled ethically, honestly and professionally. Take the time to
read it. If you have any questions, please call us.
Make sure your mold inspector is not in the mold removal
We believe it's a serious conflict of interest for the
company you pay to "inspect" for mold also profits from the
"removal" of mold. There are plenty of companies out there that
do both, the question is; how can you ever truly be sure that
they are not creating more work for themselves - work that
doesn't really need to be done? The opportunity for corruption
is far too great. The only way to know for sure that you're not
being "set up" and scammed into spending thousands of dollars
you don't need to spend is to make sure the person you hire for
mold inspections has no affiliation with any mold removal
Check your remediation contractor's experienced and
AND CALL THE REFERENCES! Don't take anyone's word for it
when it comes to shelling out thousands, perhaps tens of
thousands of dollars for remediation work. Ask for references
for jobs that are at least 10 to 12 months old. Why? Because
every mold remediation job looks great as soon as its finished.
But if remediation work is not done correctly, it can take
several months to realize it. As a rule, if mold does not
reoccur in that time, the work was done correctly. A remediation
contractor who has nothing to hide, has no problem giving you
references. If a contractor gets offend by your request, say
Hire a remediator to remediate. Hire a remodeler to
The standard rates for remodeling or reconstruction work
that involves mold remediation is approximately three time
higher that the exact same remodel without mold remediation.
That means, by hiring one contractor to do the entire job, you
are paying triple the regular rate for the reconstruction work
that takes place after the mold is removed. As rule, you save a
lot of money by hiring a remediation contractor to remove the
mold, then having a remodeling contractor come in to do the
reconstruction. Some remediation contractors will insist on
doing all the work or none at all. Just remember, there's more
where they came from. Furthermore, be sure to have a
post-remediation clearance test done before you pay your
remediation contractor. If you agree to make progress payments,
make sure the final payment is a significant percentage of the
total job price so the contractor is motivated to finish the job
Never allow a contractor to provide clearance testing for
his own remediation work.
Many remediation contractors will offer to provide FREE
clearance testing after they're work is complete. Nice gesture,
but don't fall for it. The reason they do that is so they pass
their own work and get paid. Also, they more than likely quoted
you a firm price in order to get the work in the first place and
if a third party inspector fails his post-remediation clearance
test, he has to keep coming back until he gets it right. A
"free" clearance test from a contractor offering to pass his own
work is not a good deal for you. Always insist on third party
post-remediation clearance testing and make sure your agreement
with the contractor states that he will come back and correct
his work if it fails. And don't settle the account until you see
the clearance report in writing.
Never allow a remediation contractor to "encapsulate" mold.
Some mold removal contractors include a process they call
"encapsulating" or "encapsulation". Plainly stated, it means
they paint over mold, (often with a stain killing paint called
KILZ, sold in most Home Depot stores). This practice is not
recognized by the EPA or any other legitimate authority on mold
remediation. The EPA guidelines for mold abatement is very
clear, "REMOVE IT". If the mold is removed, there is no need for
encapsulation. Unless mold is removed, it is still there.
"Encapsulating" mold by painting over it is just a way to cover
up any mold that was not removed. Are you starting to get it?
Encapsulation is a scam. Ask your contractor before he begins if
he does encapsulation. If he says yes, find another contractor.
We hope this information is helpful.
OTHER COMMON MOLD SCAMS
Fraudulent Mold Testing
Some mold inspectors who are in cahoots with mold
remediation contractors have a little trick they play to help
the remediator land big remediation jobs, for which the
remediator pays the inspector a "referral" fee" (often thousands
of dollars). It works like this: The inspector comes to your
house concealing an air sample he has already collected from
another location. That location is literally being cultivated to
produce high amounts of toxic molds. After the inspector leaves
your property he tosses your actual samples into the trash sends
the bogus samples to the lab for analysis. When your report
comes back you are, of course, shocked by the results and
frightened into calling the remediation contractor he's in
cahoots with. The fraud perpetuates when the remediation
contractor plays on your lack of knowledge, selling you
expensive repair work you don't need. will bring back to you
mold test results showing extremely serious mold problems in
your home or on your property.
This scam can often be avoided by insisting on having the
inspector (tester) show you the serial numbers located on the
spore traps and then writing them down on your receipt for his
work. When your results come back, confirm that the serial
numbers in the lab reports are the same serial numbers on your
receipt. Also, finding your own mold remediation contractor will
ensure there is no connection between him and the inspector.
"House cooking" is an old scam designed to get the worst
possible test results. The inspector shuts all the windows and
turns on the furnace in order to elevate the number of mold
spores in the air before taking samples. Some will even turn on
ceiling fans and humidifiers full blast. The purpose is to cause
high levels of detectable mold to justify expensive mold
Ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners intentionally
produce the toxic gas ozone. Often the vendors of ozone
generators make statements and distribute material that lead the
public to believe that these devices are always safe and
effective in controlling indoor air pollution. Manufacturers and
vendors of ozone devices often use misleading terms to describe
ozone. Terms such as "energized oxygen" or "pure air" suggest
that ozone is a healthy kind of oxygen. The bottom line is,
ozone is a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and
toxicological properties from oxygen. Claims that ozone
generators sold as air purifiers are effective at controlling
indoor air pollution are simply misleading.
[For more detailed
information on ozone generators click here]
Insurance Companies and Insurance Adjusters as Scammers
Here are several mold frauds perpetrated by insurance
companies and insurance adjusters.
a. Hiring testing personnel who are loyal to the insurance
companies (not the insured) to do the least possible mold
testing in the least likely mold locations in an insured's
property so that any actual mold is NOT likely to be discovered.
b. Forcing testers to restrict the air flow to purposely lower
the spore count in air sampling cassettes. The two most widely
used spore traps (air sampling cassettes) are the Air-O-Cell and
the Micro-5. The manufacturer of the Air-O-Cell trap recommends
the following pump settings: 10 liters per minute for 10
minutes. The manufacturer of the Micro-5 recommends the
following pump settings: 5 liters of air for 5 minutes. AMI
recommends you always ask your tester to show you the pump
c. Forcing the tester to only report findings and lab results to
the insurer, then refusing to disclose the findings with the
scams can be avoided by hiring AMI, California's most trusted
certified mold inspector.
If you suspect you have a mold problem, hire a responsible inspection company that is not in the remediation business.
Hire Advanced Mold Inspections.