Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice Promises Are Meaningless


VACAVILLE, CALIFORNIA --
I want to caution my fellow residents about a scam I recently fell victim to. I hired a maid service and allowed them into my home to help maintain it while it was on the market. One of their key marketing points was trust. It also promised licensed, bonded, back-grounded and drug tested employees.

At first, I made sure my wife or I were always present while they were. A trust was built with our maid crew "captain" and, because of scheduling, I opted to entrust my house key to the service. I was assured this key would be kept in a secure place and checked out only to the crew leader on the day of the scheduled cleaning.

A few months later, my wife discovered jewelry missing immediately after the maid service visited. An employee was terminated for this and was implicated in another theft. I canceled the service and requested my key back. I was then informed the house key had been hidden under a yard ornament for nearly four months. After more than a month of seeking reimbursement from the company, I have learned that "licensed and bonded" doesn't really mean a thing. The company has refused to compensate us for the theft and has instructed its employees not to cooperate further. I am now in the process of filing a small claims action.

Unfortunately, this is yet another story of "buyer beware" where the customer, and this time the victim, does not come first. I hope anyone reading this will avoid the heartache this has caused my wife and the headaches it has caused me.

TwoMaids Commentary
1. A professional maid service never wants you to "hide" your key. A professional maid service wants to number designate your key and lock it in a fire-proof safe. So, if we lose your key - we lose key #23, not Mrs. John Smith's key or the 227 Baypoint Drive key.

2. Just about every cleaning service claims to be licensed and bonded. Check out this little known secret about being bonded and insured. Long story short, ask how your maid service hired their employees. And the best medicine - the maid service that you decide on should at least perform the same level of investigation on new employees that you would if you hired the maid directly.

Here's how we hire our employees. We do all this because we would expect you to do the same if we hired you to come into our home.

3. Theft is a reality. It can happen anyday to anyone. No reputable cleaning company can promise that theft is impossible. But a reputable cleaning can promise three very important things.

A. They can promise to conduct a nationwide criminal background search on every employee.
B. They can promise to start a formal investigation as soon as you report the theft.
C. And they can promise to fix the problem if they caused the problem. And more than just promising, they can put it all on paper for your protection.

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