Consumer Alert: Crooks used Google listing to scam victim

CBS News

TEXAS — When Courtney Pearson’s washing machine gave her an error message, a friend told her to call Al’s Guaranteed Appliance Repair.

“He actually talked me through things and we fixed it that way.”

It was such a good experience that when her washer broke eight months later, Al’s was the first place she turned.

“I typed ‘Al’s Guaranteed Appliance Repair’ into Google and right there was his information and the number,” she said.

The next day, two men showed up at her door.

“They start bringing in shop vacs and buckets and I thought these two guys have it handled.”

An hour later, they said they replaced a valve and charged her $420.

“I told my husband, and he was shocked too and he said we could have bought a new machine.”

Despite the shocking amount, she wrote the check, they left and she tried to do some laundry.

That’s when she realized what was going on.

“I said ‘Guys, please come back. There is no water.’ They had done absolutely nothing to my machine but within an hour, they had gone and cashed the check and it posted to my account,” said Pearson.

They never returned and even blocked Pearson’s number.

She looked up the company again and was able to find a different number from YELP.

The owner had no idea what Pearson was talking about.

“I told her, this week I haven’t had any work, it couldn’t have been me,” said the real Al De La Cerda.

“I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs, not getting calls and someone changed the number on my site.”

Google wouldn’t address this case directly but in a statement said: “Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business are notified via email when edits are suggested.”

Pearson eventually got her money back and the real business ended up repairing her washing machine.