Rug Doctor, an Auckland-based company whose carpet cleaning machines can be hired at supermarkets, says consumer interest in its service has increased since the indecent acts of a professional carpet cleaner were exposed on a television programme last week.

The tradesman has been charged with burglary and wilfully accessing a computer after the sting, conducted by TV3's Target show, filmed him rifling through a female homeowner's draws and sniffing underwear.

The man, who has name suppression, was also seen watching pornography on a computer and performing an indecent act into the woman's underwear.

Rug Doctor's machines allow people to clean their own carpet rather than having a commercial cleaner do the work for them.


Sales manager Sally Giller said hits on the company's website had risen 20 per cent since the programme aired, but it was too early to say whether those extra hits would translate into more people hiring the machines.

The behaviour of the man exposed on the Target would make consumers think carefully about allowing carpet cleaners - and tradespeople in general - into their homes, she added, which could potentially benefit Rug Doctor's business.

"Obviously it's positive when you can do something yourself," Giller said. "You save money and you don't have to worry about people coming into your home."

She said Rug Doctor was about to start selling the machines as well as hiring them.

A standard model would retail for $1999,99 plus GST, Giller said.

She said Rug Doctor had about 1500 machines available for hire in 473 retail outlets around the country.

Earlier this week the Herald spoke to a number of professional carpet cleaners who expressed their disgust at the behaviour of the man filmed by Target, who has since been sacked from the firm he worked for, which has not been named.

John Hogg, who has been in the carpet cleaning industry for more than 20 years, said many in the trade were shocked and angry.

"We've heard of cleaners doing naughty things like lazing around and overcharging, but nothing as disgusting as this," he said. "Now people are looking at us cleaning professionals as thieving perverts, and he's enemy number one as far as we're concerned."

JAE cleaners group business manager Kathryn Lee said the behaviour exposed on the television programme was unfortunate because it made people question the industry as a whole.

She said JAE, which had been in the business for more than 46 years, had never received a complaint of such nature.