An update to a story Action 2 News first reported Monday, when a couple running a cleaning business in Allouez was successfully sued Monday for more than $11,000 after being accused of taking money for services that were not delivered.
We got calls and emails from people watching the story of Teresa and Thomas Garland of Green Bay—people who had the same experience with a company called Bright Day Cleaning they’d found on HomeAdvisor.com—a website that claims to run background checks and look for civil suits on companies before listing them as trustworthy.
Andrea Hay went to two of many homes reported to Target 2—and found some red flags people missed while making payments that didn’t quite add up.
JoAnn Wiggins took out a loan for a home remodel and contacted Bright Day in January, ahead of her son’s June wedding. She says Kathleen Belsha came to her home to consult—and talked about all the work Bright Day Cleaning could do to help. It began with getting ceilings painted, buying more paint for a discount price, refurbishing cupboards—Wiggins says Belsha made a convincing pitch to save her money and get things done efficiently—but, with the payments upfront.
Some painting was done, but with many errors—paint spills across the carpet, molding splattered with paint—seen by Action 2 News.
Months went by—“sometimes they went three months with no contact,” said Wiggins—who had complained.
The deadline for her son’s June wedding passed, and now 10 months later, the kitchen, living room and halls are a mess—the bathroom fixed only because Wiggin’s paid another contractor to complete the work.
“They took all the cabinet covers off, they took things,” Wiggins showed Andrea. “There’s a piece missing yet—at least one piece still missing.”
“So it started with just the ceiling paint- and she [Kathleen Belsha] immediately began adding onto your order?” Andrea asked.
“Yeah, and they promised me that they could do all this stuff. It’s fraud, and it’s theft. They would come with no supplies,” Wiggins added, saying some of the people who came to work on her house would walk in with nothing and ask her what to do first, what to do next, and need direction to get anything done.
“I said, ‘I don’t know, aren’t you the professionals? They weren’t; I don’t know where they found these people.’”
Wiggins says workers came sporadically—fewer than two days a week—fewer than six hours a day—and told her they made $10 an hour, which contradicted a statement Kathleen Belsha made to her about her “professionals being very well paid.”
She discovered at least one of the Belsha’s workers was actually homeless.
Workers came with their kids and hung out at her house until they could all get a ride home. “Their kids have eaten lunch or dinner at my table, and sat on my couch to watch TV. I am the caretaker for my father who has Alzheimer’s, so it got very uncomfortable, it seemed invasive to me”
“And this cost you $22,000?” asked Andrea.
“And still your house is a total mess.”
“And you don’t know where some of your cupboards are?”
“No, I don’t,” said Wiggins.
“I just trusted them. It was the wrong thing to do,” said 93-year-old Lorraine Georgeson of De Pere.
Georgeson’s apartment was cleaned once by bright day. Records show she paid $6,000, and would’ve paid another $2000 if her last check hadn’t bounced.
Her son Randy says the Belsha’s “obviously took advantage” of Lorraine’s old age and memory loss—asking her to sign a contract (or several) she didn’t understand that were to pay for years of cleanings, with all payment upfront.
“I thought, ‘contracts, wow!’ It looked all legal-like. Real business-like,” Lorraine Georgeson told Action 2 News. “But for an extended period of time I guess, how do I know how much longer I’m going to be living?”
“I was just so anxious to have my house clean. I wasn’t paying much attention,” Georgeson said. “I think that’s when they start taking advantage of the older people because they figure at 93 you don’t have any brains left anymore.”
Target 2 looked through the payments of several unhappy customers and found some consumer red flags. For example, payments were made out to WMR+PLLC, Bright Day Cleaning, Tracy Elliott, or the Belsha’s themselves—no one could tell us what the LLC stood for. Looking for an endorsement on the back of the check, the Belsha’s used several banks, too, including BMO, Associated Bank and Community Credit Union.
As we reported—the BBB gives Bright Day Cleaning an “F” grade. They say consumers should create an exact deadline for the work, get invoices that list what everything costs ahead of full payment and ask for the credentials of anyone working in your home.
TO FILE A COMPLAINT:
Consumer Protection Hotline 800-422-7128