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Better Business Bureau ®
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Albany, Buffalo, Rochester & Syracuse regions
BBB Complaints for Snow Removal Piling Up
January 24, 2014

Hundreds Still Looking to Hire

More blowing snow is on the way for Upstate New Yorkers and BBB complaints are piling up for snow removal services. BBB reports complaints filed claim trouble contacting the business they hired, several no show situations leaving them left to dig themselves out, business equipment troubles and more. Most consumers pay in advance for these services making the hiring decision all the more critical. BBB advises consumers to do their research before hiring a snow removal service.

Hundreds of residents throughout Upstate New York, nearly 1,500 in the last few weeks, have contacted BBB seeking trusted information about snow removal services. If you’re one of the many Upstate New Yorkers who are scrambling to find trusted help to remove snow as the winter season marches on, BBB encourages consumers to check Business Reviews first.

“While there are hundreds of reliable snow removal businesses for consumers to consider, emotion and urgency can sway buying decisions before due diligence is complete,” said Warren Clark, BBB President serving Upstate New York. “Both businesses and consumers should conduct proper research before payment and BBB can help with hundreds of reliable snow removal business reviews to consider.”

BBB urges consumers to keep some important tips in mind when hiring snow removal services to help you out of the storm:

Look for Experience: Each home or business is different and experience can matter. Make certain experience applies to everyone on the snow removal team and not just the business owner. Prices vary widely based on the amount of work, which takes into account the layout of the property, the size of the area requiring clearance, and whether you request removal of snow from other areas such as sidewalks or walkways.

Ask how the contractor schedules jobs. Some contractors plow as a part-time job, and this may affect their availability to plow your driveway when needed, especially if your schedule changes.

Start with Trust: BBB provides background information, complaint history and resolution to complaints in our Business Reviews. Check out snow removal services with our directory and if you can’t find a Business Review, ask BBB to start one.

Ask about License and Insurance: Who’s responsible should your home or grounds suffer damage during the winter season? Does your local municipality require the contractor to have a permit or license? Make some calls to find out and then check to make sure your contractor has one. Find out what type of coverage your contractor provides as well as your homeowners insurance.

Review your Contract: Don’t settle for a phone conversation; the contractor should provide a written contract. A company representative should come out to examine your property and make notes about services requested and potential obstacles. Find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary. Get all of these details in writing and always read before you sign. Know all the terms and conditions of the contract. Understand cancellation fees and any extra charges that may apply.

Split Your Payments: Find out how you’re expected to pay for the services and avoid using cash. Keep in mind the contractor is not obligated to refund any money should the snow stop falling. Most contractors will split your fee into payments. If you’re asked for cash upfront – consider it a red flag.

Get Contact Information: Make sure you know how to contact the company in the case of a snow emergency and know their policies about who to reach, standard contact phone numbers and any special number for urgent needs.

Get More than One Estimate: Even though it’s late in the season, there can be a lot of variables that go into consideration with snow removal. Make sure you know what you’ll be paying upfront to avoid surprises. Keep in mind the lowest price is not always the best indicator for the best service.

Beware of Scams: Remember even if a business appears to be reliable, it does not mean they are. When a company is reluctant to answer questions, won’t supply proper information or unwilling to offer references – there could be cause for concern. Your money might be spent wisely with another business.


For more BBB information you can trust, visit
bbb.org and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BetterBusinessBureauofUpstateNY.