Longtime HVAC company Thiele Heating and Cooling appeals one-year suspension
Company accused of fraud
Last Updated: 238 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Thiele Heating and Cooling is facing allegations of widespread fraud and deceit, and a peer review board of contractors unanimously recommended a one-year suspension of the business.
The company's record of 129 years of continuous service is threatened, but it remains in business while appealing the yearlong suspension of its license to operate in Marion County.
In business since 1883, Thiele Heating and Cooling could find itself out in the cold, out of business in Marion County in mid-November.
"In a very unusual decision, the HVAC Board, which is a peer board, decided to revoke their license, suspend it for one year, which is really unheard of in Marion County," said City Prosecutor Helen Marchal.
Thiele boasts of running the fourth busiest heating and cooling firm in Marion County, yet between January 2010 and May 2012, the company applied for only 12 HVAC permits.
Immediately after Code Enforcement inspectors issued a notice of violation, the company pulled 13 permits the next month.
An investigation also revealed that Thiele had no licensed contractor to oversee work and installation, and on the handful of jobs for which it obtained permits, the city alleges that Thiele fraudulently signed the name of another unwitting licensed contractor.
Thiele advertises heavily, and continues to advertise even while the firm's license faces suspension.
"Thiele is an Indiana tradition," a radio commercial for the company says. "We know the importance of price, quality and service. Our Angie's List and Better Business Bureau ratings prove that. Find out why we have stayed in business so long."
The city alleges that because Thiele failed to pull and then pay for the required permits, the company had an unfair advantage over its HVAC competitors.
"I'm not sure what they were able to do, the fact they didn't get the permits," Marchal said. "I don't know if they passed along that savings to customers or if, in fact, customers were paying for permits that weren't pulled. We're not sure."
Monday afternoon, the city prosecutor's office announced that Thiele's appeal will be heard Nov. 12.
Both Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau are monitoring the situation and are awaiting the appeal's decision.
Thiele did not respond to two separate requests for comment.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.