East Bay News
Employees of Safeguard Tubs react to raid
RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Employees of Safeguard Tubs arrived at the Richmond office on Friday, not sure what to expect after their offices were raided by state authorities on Thursday. 7 On Your Side has received two complaints since ABC7's investigation exposed complaints against the company that installs a well-known walk-in bathtub.
An employee said a lot of the employees did not show up for work today. Those who did came with a bundle of nerves wondering if they are still going to have a job and get a paycheck.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to work today," said an employee.
"I don't know if we're going work; everybody just showed up. It is what it is," said employee Kevin Lewis.
They're feeling uncertain because of what happened Thursday when law enforcement officers showed up with a search warrant.
"We come to go out on break and the feds, or whoever they are, they came through and they told everyone to come sit down and they told us they had a warrant to search the place," said an employee.
However on Friday morning, a manager was quick to usher people in and shoo ABC7's camera away. And as employees continued to arrive, the manager continued to reiterate his message that things were normal. Yet an employee inside the business sent ABC7 News text messages saying some people can't work because investigators confiscated materials they need to get the job done. She said managers spent the morning in a meeting.
Investigators won't give specifics about their case, but complaints against the company with the Contractors State License Board include false advertising, failure to get permits and overcharging customers.
You may recognize the company because its commercials often feature local and national celebrities promoting these easy access bathtubs. One employee tells us being there has been a very unique experience.
"I've been here three weeks. This is crazy, I've never been employed at a place like this in my life," said Lewis.
One employee said her direct deposit did hit her bank this morning, but checks are usually handed out at about 2:30 p.m.
The company and the company's owner have declined comment.
Besides the state, both the Riverside and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office are involved in the investigation. Criminal charges are possible.
Safeguard Tub victim talks to ABC7 News
Alta Walker bought a Safeguard tub and thought was going to be her dream tub for her retirement years. However, for her, it's turned into a nightmare and she says the company that's now the object of a multi-agency investigation won't do anything about it.
Walker purchased her Safeguard Tub in December, but now it's sits outside her Oakland home in a backyard shed. The 75-year-old Walker paid nearly $17,000 for her Safeguard Tub. She financed $14,000 of that over eight years at 9.9 percent interest.
She told us, "It's just too tight, too tight." But three days after the tub was installed, Walker found it wasn't as advertised. She told us, "I called them on the 9th and said, 'This tub isn't working for me. And I feel claustrophobic, closed in. And I had a panic attack trying to take a bath.'"
richmond, southern california, fraud, east bay news
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