St. Louis, Mo., March 7, 2012 - The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
is urging consumers to be wary of doing business with Lesco Appliances after customers reported poor service from the Granite City, Ill., appliance sales and repair firm.
Consumers from across the St. Louis area have told the BBB in recent months that Lesco improperly diagnosed appliance problems, charged them for work that was never done and consistently failed to respond to their follow-up phone calls.
“Now I am suspicious of everybody,” said a St. Louis woman who said Lesco still owes her more than $600 for appliance repairs she paid for, but which were not done.
The company has an “F” grade with the BBB, the lowest grade possible. More than a month after Lesco's owners promised to address consumer complaints to the BBB, they have not done so.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said Lesco was first registered with the Missouri secretary of state less than a year ago, but already has logged a troubling number of consumer complaints.
“The complaints paint a picture of a company that seems to have little regard for its customers and little interest in running a good, ethical business,” she said.
State records identify Lesco’s organizers as Daniel K. Lester of St. Charles and William Mitchell, who lists an address of 1901 State Street in Granite City, the same address as the Lesco office. Lester has told the BBB that he handles phone calls and dispatches service technicians for the company while Mitchell handles the actual repair part of the business.
In January, Lester blamed Mitchell for the company’s lack of responsiveness and said he would ask him to begin dealing with complaints. “I’m trying to get him to take care of this stuff,” Lester said. “He’s blowing it off because he’s tired.”
On the same day, Mitchell said he would address all complaints and asked that they be sent to him at an address in Troy, Mo. The company has yet to respond to the complaints.
The woman from St. Louis said a technician for Lesco came to her home in October 2011 and promised to make repairs to a dishwasher, a stove and a clothes dryer at a total cost of about $1,700. She said she paid the company $887, half the cost of the repairs. She said he fixed the dryer at a cost of $254, but did no other work and ultimately promised to refund the remaining $633. The woman never got the refund. “He seemed like someone you would trust,” she said. “I’m never going to pay anybody upfront again.”
A resident of Chesterfield, Mo., said she paid a serviceman $377 to fix her dishwasher in early July 2011. But when the dishwasher still did not work, she agreed to pay for additional repair work. “I’ve never heard from (the technician) again,” she said. “It was just insane. You just don’t spend $377 for no reason.”
Another homeowner from West St. Louis County said a Lesco repairman told the consumer’s wife last month that the pump on their washing machine was broken and they would need to pay $353 for a new one. Instead, the consumer said a second repair facility quickly diagnosed the problem for free on the phone: a wash cloth that had become lodged in the machine.
A restaurant operator in Maryland Heights said Lesco charged her $400 to replace an exhaust motor on the restaurant roof. She learned later that the motor had never been replaced. “They need to find something legitimate to do,” she said of the company’s operators.
The company’s website, www.lescoappliance.com, calls the firm’s technicians “the most professional servicemen available in your area” and says it has “thousands and thousands of satisfied customers. We will guarantee your full satisfaction.” Records show the company was created in April 2011 and company officials previously told the BBB it has been in business since 2007. However, the website says: “Proudly Serving the St. Louis Area For 25 Years!”
The BBB offers the following tips when hiring an appliance repair service:
- Look for businesses with good track records for service. Ask friends, relatives and neighbors for recommendations.
- Do not rely solely on information contained in advertising or on websites. The material can be misleading or inaccurate.
- Pay with a credit card whenever possible, so if there is a problem you can challenge the charge.
- If you feel uneasy about a diagnosis, contact another company for a second opinion.
- Check for BBB Business Reviews at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-584-6800, email@example.com
, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, firstname.lastname@example.org
, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, email@example.com