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7 Problem Solvers: Snow removal contractors leave customers digging out

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Posted at 8:23 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 08:23:00-05

COWLESVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The latest heavy snowfall dumped more than a foot of snow on WNY, which left many digging out for hours. For Kyle Wruck, a landlord of a 3-unit home in Wyoming County, the snow removal contractors he hired in September for his tenants never showed.

"Makes me look bad," said Wruck.

Wruck signed a contract on September 30 with a snow removal company he saw advertised in Alden. The contract said the company will be there to cleanup every three inches of snow. He paid $750 in September for the season.

Wruck called the company multiple times on Monday, they didn't call back. On Tuesday 7 News Problem Solver Michael Schwartz and Wruck called multiple times, but were left with no response.

One of the two men listed on the initial ad called back late Tuesday to say he was no longer affiliated. The other man, who said he owns the LLC, said he was sick during the snowstorm, and his phone was broken. He called Wruck and Schwartz back on Wednesday, that's when he said he got the messages.

The owner apologized to Wruck, and told Schwartz he will be giving Wruck $100 dollars back for not being there to clean this snow.

7 News has heard from many viewers about other companies not showing up at all. The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to avoid being scammed by unreliable contractors.

"There's a lot of review sites out there like BBB where people are sharing their experiences with different companies," said Melanie McGovern, Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY Communications Director.

McGovern offered three key tips when hiring snow removal contractors.

  1. THREE BIDS: Mcgovern said to start looking for a snow removal company in early fall, and get at least three contracts in your hands to compare different companies. McGovern said it's important to note that the average seasonal snow plow contract for a residential driveway in WNY is between $350 and $550 dollars.
  2. CONTRACTORS ON PROPERTY: Have the company come out to your property first before you hire. You want to make sure they can do the job before they take it on. Some contracts will say in fine print that the company can charge more for additional walkways or paths, so you want a solid price beforehand.
  3. RESEARCH: It's crucial to look into the company your hiring. McGovern said on BBB.org or other search engines, you can look up the contractor's phone number and even type in words such as "scam" or "refund" with the company's name to see if anyone left a comment relating to those situations. Some towns, villages and cities require plows to have licenses, so check with your local government to see if the one you're hiring is registered.

"Just because a company advertises doesn't mean they're reputable," said McGovern.

If you need a problem solved message Michael at 7ProblemSolvers@wkbw.com

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