On Your Side: Kirby Vacuum Quarrel

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 22, 2007

AIKEN, S.C. -- An Aiken couple says it got a raw deal on what was supposed to be a fantastic vacuum.

And now, the pair is out more than a hundred bucks and the vacuum.

Richard Hydrick and his fiancée thought they were getting a top-of-the-line vacuum.

The price was a little steep, but they sucked it up and bought it--or so they thought.

Richard and his fiancée Brandy like to keep a tidy house.

And when a vacuum sales team came by a few months ago, they were willing to listen.

"They did a demonstration,." he said.

The team was working for a company called Freeman Distributions that sells Kirby Vacuum Cleaners.

The team made promises of a chance at a thousand dollar shopping spree if Richard and Brandy listened to their pitch.

"They cleaned the carpet, the bed and the upholstery," he said.

It sounded good and Richard and brandy decided to buy it after they bargained the price down.

"$3,000. They turned around and said we'll give you a discount of $1600 if you let us have your vacuum," he said.

But not too long after, the company called back and said they had to take the vacuum back because Richard didn't have something they called a business account. He was promised a refund.

"I'm still waiting," he said.

The Kirby vacuum sales business is no stranger to controversy.

A quick Internet search pulls up hundreds of complaints about the sales techniques used by the staff.

Many even say the financing options offered to help defray the hefty cost include huge fees and high interest rates that customers aren't told about.

Back in 2004, the State of Arizona sued two Kirby Vacuum distributors for violating the Arizona Consumers Fraud Act.

Richard says he did get a check for that refund, but it bounced. All he wants now is the 120-dollars he says he was promised.

"It's been almost 3 to 4 months now," he said.

12 On Your Side made numerous phone calls to Freeman Distributors and have not heard back at all.

We also called Kirby Vacuums, but we were told all distributors act independently of the main company and Kirby was not involved.

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