My fianc, Jerry, saw an ad from Res-com in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper that stated Res-com was hiring mold inspectors and listed a number to call in Sacramento.
Jerry and I both spoke with Monique Worthington who told us that in order to be hired by Res-Com, you must take a required course that will take approximately 2 weeks if you study two hours a day. It is an open book test that will be taken along with the three C.D.s that Res-Com provides. When you pass the test and receive your AABIE Certification, there will be a drug screen and background check. The total process would take 30 to 45 days. If you pass the drug screen and background check you will be hired as a Res-Com Employee or you can be a contractor for Res-Com. Res-Com will train you in the field for 2 to 3 days before going out on job assignments alone.
When we asked what the difference was between being a contractor and an employee, she stated that the only difference was that a contractor would file 1099 and an employee would file a W-2 tax return. She also stated that the same benefits package was offered to both contractors and employees.
The benefits package offered a 401K, medical and dental. I asked why would someone work as an employee if they could be a contractor? She said that some people don't like to figure out their own taxes on a 1099 quarterly. I asked her if Res-Com gives preference to the employee over the contractor when it comes to handing out job assignments. She said no, everyone is guaranteed at least three job assignments per day and sometimes he will also be expected to work Saturdays. She said Jerry would be very busy. I asked if he chose to be a contractor would it be against company policy if he subcontracted with other companies. She said, Well, I wouldn't tell anyone about it if he did.(In the course work, it said the opposite).
Jerry asked Monique what he could expect in compensation. She told him that as an employee, he would be paid $17.50 per hr (their newspaper ad read $18.50 to $24.00 per hr) As a contractor she stated the pay would be 40% of the total cost of the unit. She told Jerry that the average cost was between $300 and $400. (Monique told me that the average charge for a small job was $160 to $190 and the average charge for a larger home or building would range from $500 to $4,000). She told Jerry he would need to be available to travel occasionally up to 70 miles from home for an assignment for which he would be compensated $20 per day for gas. He would be compensated for time on the job only and not for report writing. He would average about $50K to $60K his first year and he would be paid on the 1st and the 15th of each month.
His appointments would be from 8:00am to 6:00pm and occasional weekends. She would fax him his job orders so he would know how to schedule his time. They would arrive a week before he was expected on the job site. Jerry would only spend 30 to 40 minutes on each job unless it was a really big job.
Monique stated that that Res-Com has 100 inspectors across the U.S. and that Res-Com is a nationwide company that has been around for 40 years and has been specializing in mold reports for the past 4 years. According to the report I received from the Better Business Bureau in Sacramento last week, the original business start date is: 05/18/2002. (That's a far cry from 40 years). The principal is Zack Fuelling, President. Type of business code: home/commercial inspection. Res-Com is not a member of the Better Business Bureau. The information I received from the Better Business Bureau in Sacramento was astounding. If you want the full report you can request a report by calling the BBB in Sacramento at 916.443.6843 The Better Business Bureau is located at: 400 S. Street, Sacramento, CA. 95814. You can also log a complaint on their site. The report states that the number of complaints processed by the BBB since Res-Com's BBB file was opened in October of 2003 is 74 and the number of complaints processed against Res-com by the BBB in the last 12 months is 44. I think the numbers speak for themselves. Additional business names this company does business as are: R C Services, and R.C. Inc. Additional phone numbers are
866. 971.1002 and 866.971.1001.
Jerry took his 3 tests and supposedly did not pass the CRIE Test so he had to pay an additional $20 to retake the test. He was denied access to the test results so he can't verify which questions he was told were incorrect. He did pass the CRIE Test the second time around and received his AABIE Certification approximately 3 weeks later. He had not heard anything from Res-Com from that point on until he called them
02/13/2006, Jerry returned a call from Karen Powers. Jerry questioned the policies of the company. He had by this time read the report that was sent to me by the Better Business Bureau and was questioning the credibility of Res-Com. Jerry stated that he was concerned about the legitimacy of Res-Com as we had learned that Res-Com has been operating under deceptive premises for some time. Karen retorted that Jerry had to reapply on line confirming receipt of his certificate and he would have to take another required exam before a background check for employment was conducted. He protested saying that he was never told of any other tests that were expected from him. He questioned why he had to take another test again after passing the 3 tests and receiving his certificate. At this point Jerry demanded to be reimbursed for his $290 investment. Karen replied that there was nothing she could do about that since he had received his certificate and it was to late to get his money back. Jerry argued that the certificate had about as much value as toilet paper. Karen then hung up on Jerry.
The reason I am involved in this mess is that I loaned Jerry the $290.00 for the 3 CD's as Monique Worthington was reluctant to accept his check for the course so I let her charge his $290.00 on my credit card. I made it quite clear to Monique that this was a loan to Jerry and that the rest of the money he might be charged would have to be billed to Jerry and not to my card. Monique said that she understood this so I reluctantly gave her my credit card number. This should have been my red flag. Shortly after Jerry signed up with Res-Com, I noticed several charges on my credit card bill from Res-Com that I did not authorize.
On 10/27/05 there was a charge for $150.00 and on 11/20/05 there was another charge of $9.50 on my visa. I immediately called Res-Com and asked what these charges were for. When I didn't get an answer, I sent an email and Michelle Albright's reply was, When you were registered for the coursework for becoming a certified mold inspector, you were registered at a discounted member rate of $290.00. This provided you with a savings of $490.00 off the non-member rate of $780.00+. (This was news to me) The only stipulation to receiving the discounted member rate on the coursework is that you become a member of the AABIE American Association of Building Inspectors & Environmentalists You will be charged for only six months. After that, we will purchase a lifetime membership for you. The fees that you are being charged are the membership fees to the AABIE. Unfortunately, if you cancel your membership with the AABIE, you will no longer be eligible to complete your coursework. Res-Com cannot send unlicensed inspectors out on jobs. Therefore, you will not receive any jobs from Res-Com unless you are a certified inspector. Be sure to keep your membership current so that we can send you out on jobs ASAP. Plus the dues are only charged for six months. There is one other option. You can pay a one-time fee of $150.00 and you will no longer be charged any membership dues. As a matter of fact, you will receive a complimentary lifetime membership to the AABIE. Membership in the AABIE denotes professionalism and offers many benefits to industry professionals.
I wrote back that there must have been a misunderstanding and to please discontinue the charges that are being made to my credit card. When Jerry Goodwin applied for the job with Res-Com, I paid for his materials ($290.00) on my credit card. As I stated to Monique Worthington, this was a loan to Jerry to help him get started. I did not authorize any more money to be taken out of my credit card for him.
I also told Monique that after I saw Jerry's materials and discs, I thought that I "might" be interested in the same kind of work. I called Res-Com and talked to Monique Worthington again. I told her that I "might" be interested in a position with Res-Com as well. She told me to submit an application and my resume, which I did. She then called me two days later and during our discussion I told her that I had reconsidered and I could not afford to pay for the discs and study materials a second time since I had already loaned Jerry the money to pay for his on my visa card. She stated that I could use the same study materials that were sent to Jerry Goodwin since I had already paid for them and that I would only have to pay to take the test, which would be and additional $150. I understood that to mean that if and when I took the test, I would then be charged for the test. I did not tell her to take the money out of my visa before I took the test. I had not really committed to taking the test at this time but was just thinking about the possibility since I already made over 200K in my current field.
In the meantime, neither Jerry or I were ever informed that there would be additional charges that we would have to pay for the AABIE Membership, what the cost was, the options or that the charges would be taken out of my credit card. When I received my visa bill and saw a new charge of $9.50 from Res-Com, I contacted Michelle Albright, who had been the main contact by this time. I questioned the money being charged to my Visa that I had not authorized. I stated that I understood, from Michelle's email reply, that there was an option to pay for a lifetime membership on line for $150.00. First let me say that we were not aware that we had to pay for the AABIE membership before finding out if Jerry is accepted or not by Res-Com. We were told that he had to pass the test first and that would take a couple of weeks. Then he would have to have a back ground check which would take another couple of weeks and then if he passed that, he would be taken out into the field for a couple of days training with a trainer from Res-Com and start working right away. In the AABIE instruction booklet that Jerry received, there was no mention that he had to pay for his AABIE Membership either. It simply stated that after he received a passing score on all three tests, an official passing score certificate would be issued by AABIE to Jerry. We didn't know he had to pay for a membership "before" he found out if he has passed the tests and all the criteria for the job. If in fact if he did have to pay for the AABIE Membership before knowing if he passed the test and background check then he would have paid for his own membership on line for a life time membership fee of $150.00 as Michelle Albright described in her later email.
I never gave anyone at Res-com permission to have any more fees of any kind deducted from my credit card. Jerry's preference would have been to send a check to pay for his AABIE Membership but since Res-Com doesn't want anyone to have their address they will only give you a P.O.Box number. I asked Michelle to contact Jerry about the $150.00 Membership payment and stated again, his membership fee should not be deducted from my credit card, as I did not authorize this transaction. I did not authorize an AABIE Membership fee deduction from my credit card for myself either. I also stated that I had decided not to go further with Res-Com at this juncture. I was finally seeing all the red flags popping up about this company and was starting to get worried. I stated that I would appreciate a phone call so we can discuss this matter and come to an agreeable solution. The reply I got from Michelle Albright in an email chided,When you filled out our online resume did you read the terms and conditions before you agreed to them which it states right on our website by clicking submit you agree to all terms which it does state about the membership? Yes, you have to be a member before they grade your test because they gave you a month before they started charging you because the course should only take 2 weeks. I stated I did not want to be billed for things concerning Jerry and that I had not taken the test nor did I plan to. All monies regarding Jerry should be address to him, not taken from my credit card. Since that email I have received three more credit card bills. These are the additional charges Res-Com has charged to my card:
11/27/05 for $9.50, 12/04/05 for $9.50, 12/11/05 for $9.50, 12/16/05 for $9.50, 12/18/05 for $9.50, 12/23,05 for $9.50, 12/25/05 for $9.50, 12/27/05 for $150.00, 12/30/05 for $9.50, 01/01/06 for $9.50, 01/06/06 for $9.50, 01/08/06 for $9.50.
I still don't know what has come in since 01/08/06 as I had to cancel my credit card. An investigator has also been assigned to my case by my credit card company in response to these charges. I have also contacted the District Attorneys Office in Sacramento and have started to process a class action suit against Res-Com which I fondly refer to now as REZ-CON.
I wish I had read the reports on Res-Com here at www.badbusinessbureau.com from John in Missouri Valley, Iowa, Tom from Buffalo, New York, William from Nevada, Missouri and Ramiro from Saint Augustine, Florida.
I also wish I had known about the National Associations like, NACHI, HAHI and ASHI who I've also recently talked to who have never heard to AABIE either. For a company that is supposed to be nationwide for 40 years, how come no one knows about Res-Com? BEWARE folks! Don't be suckered in like we were. Get your report from the BBB and talk to the head of NACHI, Lyle Standish. You can reach him at 800.638.1359. He'll tell you which organization is the real thing. You'll see the difference when you go to their web sites. For those who want to join the class action suit, stay tuned. If you want to join a reputable organization for home and mold inspection, check out well known organizations like AHSI or NACHI. You don't have to believe me but do yourself a favor and request and read the report from the Sacramento Better Business Bureau on Res-Com and make your own decision. You'll be glad you did.
San Jose, California