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Investigation: Aftermath Complaints

April 18, 2012

Investigation: Aftermath Complaints.

Please watch this disturbing video of a news investigation about Aftermath inc

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=11212

Investigation: Aftermath Complaints

Published : Monday, 05 Mar 2012, 10:00 PM CST

DALLAS – A death clean up can be a gruesome job but there are companies that specialize in that service. They come to a family’s rescue in a desperate time of need but some families complain one local company may be trying to clean up more than just the mess.

Aftermath, Inc. does the dirty work, coming in after a murder, suicide or death in the family.

“He was a good kid,” Rick Donato remembers when talking about his son Shane. “Everyone talks highly of him. I can’t believe this happened,” he continued.

“I just loved him. He was so beautiful,” said Shane’s mother Brenda.

The pain rips through Rick and Brenda Donato. In November 2011, the unthinkable happened. Their only son, a college student, shot himself in their master bedroom.

“I didn’t see it,” Rick Donato said. “If I had known, that gun would have been gone. I would never have kept it,” he said.

Grand Prairie Police referred the Donatos to Aftermath, Inc. to clean up. In a complaint filed with the Texas Attorney General’s office, the Donatos say their relief quickly turned to anger.

“You are going to charge me $4 or $5,000 dollars for a clean up?” Rick Donato said he asked the Aftermath employee.

“ He said, yeah but don’t worry about it. Your insurance company ought to take care of it and he said it twice,” Donato continued.

But that is not what happened. They say their insurance company told them they would only pay about one tenth of the $22,000 bill.

It shows 3 workers spent 10 and a half hours at almost $300 an hour. That is almost $9,000. Another $3500 was for supplies and $3200 for profit and overhead.

“My son was laying right here,” Rick Donato said pointing to the floor in the master bedroom. “That is where he was bleeding the most. He shot himself in the head.

Donato says Aftermath, Inc. removed the carpet and pad and sealed the floor, scrubbed the wall, removed the blinds and dust ruffle and cut out a piece of carpet in the hall. Donato admits he didn’t read the fine print that states “providing any estimate would be difficult.” He signed off on the hourly rate and charges.

“They caught me at a weak time in my life,” Donato said wiping away the tears.

The Donatos are not alone.

“You are in shock that this is happening,” said Rexine Mayes.
Rexine and Jeff Mayes say Jeff’s step brother also killed himself with a gun. He was found around 8 days later. Seagoville Police referred them to Aftermath, Inc. In a complaint filed with the Texas Attorney General’s office, the Mayes say the company gave them a verbal estimate of around $3,000. A bill for that amount arrived but so did a second one.

“It was $31,800.00” said Jeff Mayes.

“How do you jump from $3,000 to $31,000? How do you do that,” asked Rexine.

The Mayes $31,000 bill shows more than $16,000 in labor. The insurance company, Geovera, that had the homeowner’s policy, called the charges, “excessive” and would only pay $10,000.

When the Mayes didn’t pay up, Aftermath, Inc. put a lien on the Seagoville home. Mayes says had he known the price could even get that high, he never would have signed the contract.

“Be honest. Tell us up front what the situation is, that way we can try to make the right decision and do the right thing,” Jeff Mayes said.

Aftermath’s website says it is the nation’s leader in biohazard management. Based in Illinois, it has been operating for more than 15 years.

The owners claim they are part of a family’s healing process.

“Our first purpose here is to assist the family,” said Tim Reifsteck of Aftermath, Inc. in a video posted on the company’s website.

The Better Business Bureau in Chicago gives the company a B- rating. There have been 13 complaints filed in the past 3 years.

In 2010, the Ohio Attorney General found Aftermath, Inc. was not in compliance with consumer laws after customers complained about “overbilling in excess of initial estimates.” The Attorney General ordered Aftermath, Inc. to pay $15,000. A report says the matter and the consumer complaints were resolved.

In Texas, we found Aftermath, Inc. has filed 9 liens on properties in Tarrant, Collin, Denton and Dallas Counties. 6 liens have been released. 3 are still active.

We called Aftermath, Inc. several times, even went by the Ft. Worth office. No one responded.

“They are taking advantage of people,” said Plaintiff’s attorney, Ted Lyon. Lyon is representing three families and going to battle for them. The former lawmaker believes these types of companies need regulation.

“This is a case that cries out for somebody to do something about it,” said Lyon. “It is the most vulnerable time in a person’s life and it is really
outrageous,” he continued.

Aftermath, Inc. claims its prices are reasonable and well below the regional average for biological remediation and the company is concerned with a family’s welfare.

“We are going to get them going, get them back into their life so they can start to live again,” said the co owner of Aftermath, Inc. in a story that was posted on the company’s

Read more on myFOXdfw.com: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/investigative/investigation%3A-aftermath-complaints-030412#ixzz1sPhvfIFVwebsite.

“There is no healing with them,” said Rick Donato. Donato says he feels like Aftermath, Inc. is trying to clean him out. He fears after losing his son, now he may lose his home.

“They can charge a fair price, that is not the problem,” said Brenda Donato. “This is not a fair price,” she continued.

“I don’t know how they can do it,” Rick Donato said. “That is taking advantage of someone in so much pain. My son was everything,” he said.

Death clean up companies are not regulated in Texas. Attorney Ted Lyon spent 15 years in the Texas Legislature. He believes these companies should be licensed and they should have to meet certain standards.

The Seagoville Police Chief told Fox 4 he was not aware his department was making referrals. He now has a policy that prohibits giving out the names of clean up companies. The Grand Prairie Police policy allows for referrals but officers are supposed to hand out a list of company names, not just one name. Rick Donato says in his case, he got three names but was told only Aftermath, Inc. worked on weekends and it was a Sunday.

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2 Comments
  1. bub permalink

    Horrible Horrible Horrible! Do not use! ruthless and rude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. sky permalink

    This happened to me too. Not only stealing from my home but ripping up my home to the point of having an engineer having to put it back together. Not all the body fluids were eliminatied after a $35,000cleanup. A huge scam that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Ruthless and uncaring!!!!!

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