Better Business Bureau warns about snow-plowing scam - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Better Business Bureau warns about snow-plowing scam

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MILWAUKEE (WAOW) -

The Better Business Bureau is warning that a snow plowing business has bilked consumers in three states out of money for services that aren't being performed.

Snow Angels LLC took took prepayments up to $650 for plowing services this winter but never performed the work, and the Better Business Bureau in Wisconsin, Chicago and Minnesota reported Wednesday it has received 20 complaints about the company.

The agency said that following a snowfall Jan. 15, one customer inquired about plowing and received the following email response for Snow Angels: “We regret to inform you that we will not be able to service your route tonight. Our company will be folding. We were delaying this decision until after this storm in order to provide service today. However, due to unforeseen logistical difficulties, we will not be able to clear this snowfall or any in the future.”

Requests for refunds from consumers have gone unanswered, Better Business Bureau said.

So far, four complaints about the company were filed in Wisconsin, three in Chicago and 12 in Minnesota, the agency said.

Better Business Bureau says Snow Angels LLC is newly incorporated in all three states and uses addresses which are all UPS stores. All listed telephone numbers for the company are disconnected. Recent mail sent to the company’s Milwaukee address was returned by the Post Office marked, “Return to Sender.”

The agency offers the following tips when hiring a snow removal company:

  • Get several estimates. The least expensive service is not always the best service.
  • Split the payments. Contracts take two forms: pay per plowing or pay per season. If consumers choose a pay per season contract in a light snow season, the contractor is not obligated to refund any money. If consumers are expected to pay all fees upfront, consider it a red flag. Most contractors will split fees into two or three payments.
  • Ask the contractor about additional charges. Find out how the company calculates the size of the snowfall.
  • Ask for references and check them out. Do not settle on an agreement over the telephone. The contractor should provide you with a written agreement. A representative should come out to examine your property and make notes about the service requested and potential obstacles.
  • Before you sign the agreement, ask who will be responsible for damages, such as cracked driveways or broken gates. Ask if the contractor is insured or bonded. Also, find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary.
  • Make sure to get the contact information for the company in the case of a snow emergency, and know the policies about who to reach and any special number for urgent needs.
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