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 Pure Kleen Says We've Got Mold, Test Results Show Otherwise

HUNTSVILLE, AL - A company that set up shop in Madison may be taking advantage of you and your fears about mold. WHNT NEWS 19 launched a Taking Action Investigation to make sure what happened to some consumers doesn't happen to you.

The company is called Pure Kleen. Since our story aired last week, several more consumers have come forward saying they paid Pure Kleen thousands of dollars and now they're wondering if it was all a sham.

In our hidden camera investigation, reps from Pure Kleen used an instant mold test kit to test a house we rigged with multiple cameras. In less than a minute, the Pure Kleen reps told our undercover producer the house had mold. That's the same result a lot of homeowners who hired Pure Kleen heard.

"I could swab my leg and it would turn up positive for mold," said a former Pure Kleen employee.

We can't show his face and we have to make sure you can't recognize his voice. Because he's been on the inside of Pure Kleen.

He doesn't want his identity revealed, but he does want to right the Pure Kleen wrongs.

"We use false mold test kits that always turn up purple... always turn up positive for mold," he says.

Pure Kleen advertises air duct cleaning and mold remediation in local newspapers.

He also says, "We are trained to look for mold, find mold and even if we don't find mold we're told to call in, write up a huge estimate and call in for a discount."

One woman got the Pure Kleen pitch, although we can't show you her face.

"The first thing they said is they were as I went to the door was you have mold and you need to take care of it," she said. "And we can do it."

She says they gave her an estimate of $6,050 to get rid of the mold then they made a phone call? and next thing she knew, they discounted the service to $5,000.

"I'm embarrassed to think that I could be taken," she said. "I pride myself on the fact that I wouldn't fall for something like this."

To investigate the practices of Pure Kleen, we went undercover. We rigged a house with multiple hidden cameras. Our undercover producer asks the Pure Kleen representative about the company's free mold test advertised in the paper.

The technician performs a swab test on a vent.

He says, caught on hidden camera, "Put that in the tube. Break the seal: Let it go down there. Green is good. Gray is fair. And when you see it's purple then you've got a mold situation that needs to be taken care of."

They further emphasize the point as they leave when one technician asks the other if there was mold in the house.

The other technician says, yes, and that you've definitely got to get it at the source.

We wanted a second opinion? so we had the house independently tested by Terrell Technical Services. Neil Matson took a sample for fungal spores. He says every home has some level of mold.

"It is part of our natural environment. It's in the air and on surfaces of everything," said Matson. "Other than a completely sterile environment? we're going to find mold."

HUNTSVILLE, AL - He also says those quick mold test kits aren't definitive proof.

"I wouldn't call them reliable. They should be followed up with some real analytical tests in a laboratory," he says.

Matson took surface samples from the same area as the Pure Kleen technician and sent the samples to an accredited microbiology lab for analysis.

Now the results are back.

The report from Terrell Technical Services says that the visual inspection of the home and heating-air system revealed no evidence of potential fungal contamination. They could tell just by looking at it, that lab testing wasn't even necessary.

"It's very obvious we're just dealing with dust accumulation," said Matson.

Since our report initially aired, the Better Business Bureau WHNT NEWS 19 Consumer Action Line has been ringing.

Michele McDaniel is the President of the BBB of North Alabama.

"The Better Business Bureau did receive a significant number of calls from consumers who were concerned about their experience with the company and several have filed complaints with the BBB," said McDaniel. "We are sending those to the company and waiting for their response to see how they'll address those."

We must note that the woman you saw in the story was able to put a stop payment on the $5,000 check she wrote to Pure Kleen. And we also want to point out that Pure Kleen is not to be confused with a company called PuroClean out of Athens.

To reiterate, the experts say lab testing wasn't even necessary in our undercover house. But the independent lab results confirmed there wasn't any fungal contamination.

Why did the Pure Kleen tech tell us we had mold? That's a question we're still trying to answer. We've been investigating the owner and spending countless hours digging into Pure Kleen.

We've discovered the company moves from city to city and the person responsible for the operation in North Alabama has a questionable background.

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