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Furnace repair company demotes employee after scam allegations

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HAMILTON COUNTY – A central Indiana furnace repair company is trying to make things right after learning one of its technicians had been accused of trying to scam a customer into buying a brand new furnace.

Carmel resident Jim Miller said he wanted to make sure his furnace was ready for the winter so he called up Service Plus in Fishers to check it out. The technician took a look and gave Miller some bad news.

“(He said) it had a hole in it which was going to leak carbon monoxide which would kill us eventually,” recalled Miller.

The cost of repairing or replacing the unit was in the thousands of dollars. Miller decided to get a second opinion.

“He came out and looked at it; couldn’t find a single thing wrong,” he said.

Miller decided to call the original company back to find out if he could get more details about the problem they found. He said the same technician showed him a suspicious photo on his iPhone of a broken part claiming that it was taken from inside his furnace.

“It was a total scam. There’s nothing wrong with this unit,” Miller said. “There are no holes that are going to kill us with carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Even more concerning, Miller said his neighbor recently went through a similar situation.

“The same story had been told to her. Well she had had two more service people come out to verify and there was nothing wrong with her furnace.”

Service Plus Owner Chris Cunningham told FOX59 he started investigating as soon as he saw the report.

The technician in question, he said, had only been on the job for three weeks. Now he has been demoted and could face even more serious disciplinary action. He added that the technician was no longer allowed to diagnose heating problems without the aid of a more seasoned technician.

"Under no circumstances would I ever allow, you know, any kind of fraud or promote any kind of fraud within our business,” said Cunningham.

Service Plus has been around for years and has a good reputation; a high rating on Google reviews and an ‘A’ rating on Angie’s List.

Cunningham called the situation “heartbreaking.”

“We've had this situation in the past where you get a difference of opinion and, you know, I've always told customers… I'm like, ‘If we're wrong, I’ll make it right. I will, you know, give you a new furnace’," he explained. “Your reputation is everything and that's what we built our whole business on."

Cunningham said he would talk with Miller and try to fix the situation.