That Awkward Moment When You Know You Are Being Lied To -

Updated on July 30, 2014
S.D. asks from Carson, CA
11 answers

I had a housekeeper come to my house to help out with some cleaning. She began cleaning my fridge. She was asking for a sponge. I suggested a 'rag' but she preferred the sponge. All I had was the double-sided sponge with the abrasive on one side/sponge on other. She cleaned all the glass and plastic with the abrasive side. I didn't notice it until she was all done and it's all scratched up. Whatever...But then I look at my stainless steel front. It is scratched to smithereens! She actually used the abrasive side to 'scrub' the front of my refrigerator. I walk by and it looks's all scratched up. I asked her, in a very nice tone, "hey, did you use the abrasive side. It's all scratched up on my stainless steel?" "No, no, just water and soft side." "Really, I'm not upset but did you use the abrasive side?" She 'rep-lies', "no just water. I only used water." Ugh. I am the type of person that I hate the lie more than the 'mistake'. Just tell me the truth for crying out loud.

So now, I have a clean fridge that looks like someone cleaned it with steel wool! Any thoughts on what I can do to get all those scratches out?

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So What Happened?

I didn't set anyone up to lie. How does asking a question 'set someone up'? It's my fridge. She said she was a professional and knew what she was doing. Had I known she lacked experience, I would have had her mop sweep and mop floors only.

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answers from Miami on

I would recommend that you google the manufacturer's website in hopes of finding help.

What happened to you reminds me of asking my kids "Did you....?" and them saying no. Best to tell them what they do wrong and not ask them if they did. It would have made you feel better...

My gosh, I do hope that you can find something to help. Otherwise, I wonder how much a new door costs?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'd be angry too, but really, you set her up to lie. nice tone or not, you asked an accusatory question. i might well have done the same thing, but not phrased it as a question- 'oh no! my stainless steel is scratched up! it looks like you used the abrasive side of the sponge!'
but when you ask the question, especially with the patently untrue 'i'm not upset', you immediately put her on the defensive. i'd have been honest with you- but most people (as one can see from the advice on this very site, which constantly suggests lying) will try to avert a pointed accusation.
since there wasn't much she could do about it after the fact, i guess she just thought 'why come clean?'
like you, i LOATHE being lied to- so i try not to corner people.
sucks about your fridge though. not sure what to do about that. there are kits you can buy like scratch-b-gone, but i'm not sure how well they work.

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answers from Dallas on

She was probably scared she would lose her job. Our cleaner broke the mud guard off our front door last time they were here and tried to hide it. I asked her if she knew what happened and she said no. I'm sure it was an accident so when she left I just told her point blank 'I'm not mad about the door being broken. I have two kids, we break stuff all the time. Don't worry about it.' She looked relieved, and I didn't say anything to their agency about it. DH fixed it last weekend, it was around $35. Probably the entire amount of money she made when she was here for 4 hours, and I doubt she's working for 'extra spending money', KWIM?

You're totally within your right to call the agency and complain, I'm not saying you shouldn't. Just maybe try to understand her fear in telling you the truth. I don't think she lied to you out of disrespect, so there's no reason really to be offended.

ETA: In the past four years I had one cleaners rip a curtain rod off the wall, break an expensive vacuum, and the worst was when one cleaner of a rental property didn't know not to mix bleach and ammonia and essentially mustard-gassed the place. Take the bad with the good, I guess.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ya know, I can't remember who it was or why (was it me?) but someone I know replaced the door of their stainless steel fridge. I think it was me, actually. I wish I could recall why.

I don't think it was super cheap, but it's better than having to replace the whole fridge.

This is one of those things you file under win some/lose some, and get a new door, if it's irreparably scratched.

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answers from Chattanooga on

This link gives you a few options. If it was just scratched up with the abrasive side of a sponge, the scratches shouldn't be too deep... You should be able to buff them out with the first method on here.

You would think someone who does this for a living would know better. :/

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

Most home improvement store sell scratch remover for stainless steel appliances. You can also use sand paper. Google for the method.

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answers from Washington DC on

We don't use a cleaning service but several friends do, and they all say that their cleaners bring their own supplies -- so I'm curious why, if she was part of any larger service, she had to ask you for the right tool to clean a fridge? Unless maybe the fridge was not on her usual list of things she does so she wasn't ready to do it but added it when asked. If she's with an agency, tell them about the damage and as someone else posted, ask about their insurance or if they would prefer to just pay to fix the scratches rather than report it on insurance.

If she is just a casual cleaner who is not with any agency -- find out how much the fix will be (the scratch eraser kit mentioned by someone else is just $6.00, then tell her you expect her to pay for that kit and fix the scratches without your paying her for that particular time. If you do it calmly and note that you like her other work and want to keep her on if she does this (if that's true!), she is likely to do it. You can just dock her pay the $6.00 plus the amount for the time she spends doing it. (Test the kit yourself first so you know if that's going to be a real solution.)

I agree with others that she may have been scared she'd lose the job, and also that there may be a language barrier you didn't realize at the time--??

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If she works through an agency contact them. Have a supervisor come and take pictures.

I worked in home health for a while and often did laundry for individuals. I did not sort their clothes, I took their laundry basket to the washer and dumped it in, set it, added stuff, and started it. Then when I had time I switched them to the dryer.

It was never in my job description to sort or anything like that. They were supposed to have their items sorted how they wanted them washed, this kept their clothes where they wanted them.

This one lady left lipstick in her pocket and when she went to get her clothes out of the dryer they were covered with melted lipstick.

My company had to replace her clothing, even though it was not contracted that I sort and check her pockets they did buy her some new clothes.

Another time a lady had a flat surface cooktop. She canned on it. It boiled over. It's in the hand book in large letters that a person is not supposed to can foods on one of those.

Anyway, she left the goo for me to clean and it was days later. I put wet soapy rags on the top to try and soften the goo. I heated it to low then shut it off, trying to melt it again. I even turned it on high to burn it off. Nothing worked. It was stuck very well.

So I soaked it in hot soapy water then I scraped it with a plastic tool from Pampered Chef. It did NOT hurt her range top. But she called the office later and said I'd damaged it.

My company had to buy her a new range top and of course it wasn't a flat top, it had regular burners. I refused to go to her house again because I knew what I had done had not scrubbed her surface. When I saw the pictures I told them I hadn't scrubbed it at all, that I'd scraped it and with what. It was still on the towel by her sink where she dried dishes. It was IN the pictures.

But since she'd complained to the company and damage was evident they replaced the damaged item.

So, if she works for a company call them and complain. If she has any personal liability insurance file a claim. You have to look at that the rest of the life of the fridge. It's going to annoy you forever.

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answers from Lancaster on

Is it possible that there's a language barrier and she doesn't understand "abrasive side"? Or she thinks you're asking if she used an abrasive cleanser like comet? Either way, you KNOW she used that side of the sponge. Ughhhh.

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answers from Portland on

Don't even ask her if she used the abrasive side. You know she did. Of course she's going to lie. She was scared. Be angry because she scratched your fridge.That's enough to be very angry. Asking her is a passive aggressive way to expressyour anger. I wonder why she was unaware of making scratches.

I suggest she needs to pay for repairs if they can be made and if the scratches are extensive. You didn't say under what terms you hired her. How did you get her help? If this is the first time she's worked for you and she didn't have references I suggest this is a lesson learned. I wonder why you didn't check on her work while she was doing it. I also would not have given her a sponge with an abrasive side. It isn't the correct tool for the job. I suggest you bare some responsiblity for the damage. Because she insisted on using the sponge and scratched the shelves and door I'm guessing she's not a professional.

I sympathise with you. This is a hard lesson to learn. I hope the scratches are few. I also hope that you will not ask questions to which you already know the answers. Especially with your children.

As to repairs, I'd talk with a glazier about the glass. You may be able to buff out the scratches on the door. I'd ask at an auto paint shop.

2 moms found this helpful
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