The Better Business Bureaus Serving Wisconsin, Chicago and Minnesota are issuing an alert concerning a snow plowing business - Snow Angels, LLC.UPDATE: Charges were filed against the company's owner, Matthew D. Erickson of Cottage Grove, Minn, earlier this week (5/8/18) by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ). The criminal charges were for contracting to deliver snow removal services and never completing those services for 111 victims nationwide, 28 of whom reside in Wisconsin. Many of the victims were over the age of 60. In Wisconsin, the total amount of restitution is currently $13,060; nationwide, the amount is in excess of $50,000. A defendant in a criminal case is innocent until proven guilty. Relevant court filings can be found online through the Wisconsin Department of Justice's website. BBBs of Wisconsin, Chicago and Minnesota issued a joint press release earlier this year regarding Snow Angels LLC and provided ongoing assistance to law enforcement personnel during the investigation process.The company and its alleged principal and registered agent, Matthew Erickson, purportedly took pre-payments of $350-$650 in full from customers for plowing services for the 2017-2018 winter season, but never performed the work.On January 15, following the biggest snowfall to date for the Wisconsin winter season, a customer inquired about plowing and received an email response from the company that stated:“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 snow fall or any in the future.”To date, requests for refunds from consumers have gone unanswered.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 (554 E. Ogden Ave., Suite 700) has been returned by the Post Office marked, “Return to Sender.”The Better Business Bureaus Serving Wisconsin, Chicago, and Minnesota have not been able to reach the company. Complaints to the BBBs in Chicago and Wisconsin have gone unanswered. In Minnesota, the company did provide at least some service according to three local complainants. However, the complainants indicate that Snow Angels, LLC has not been responsive after recent snowfalls and state they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations.Twenty complaints have been processed; BBB Serving Wisconsin has processed four complaints, BBB Serving Chicago has processed three complaints, and BBB Serving Minnesota has processed twelve complaints to date.Anita E. of Florida states, “On 10/26/17 I signed a contract covering any snowfall dates from July 2017-July 2018 and paid Snow Angels LLC to provide snow removal services for the winter season for my (elderly) mother who resides in West Allis, Wisconsin. On 1/15/18 I received an email from Snow Angels saying they were monitoring the storm and would have crews sent out…Later that evening I received an email saying the company was folding and no services would be provided. I would like to see this company held accountable for taking money and not providing service.”Barb M. of Illinois states, “We contracted with this company for snow removal as a Christmas gift to our parents. It has snowed 3 times this year and Snow Angels has not shown up once. My father is 80 years old and my mother is a heart patient. We need consistency in the snow removal services we purchase. At this point, Snow Angels is not returning any phone calls and we are out $550.00.”Laurel M. of Minnesota states, “I paid Snow Angels $450.00 to do snow removal and they have never showed up.”The BBB offers the following tips when hiring a snow removal company:Get several estimates. Prices can vary widely and are usually based on the amount of work, which takes into account the layout of the property and size of the area to be cleared. Remember, the least expensive service is not always the best service.Split the payments. Find out how the company expects payment. Most snow plow companies request pre-pay services in full, upfront. 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 – one at the beginning, middle and end of the season. Never pay in cash.Ask the contractor about additional charges. Besides the quoted price, there are sometimes additional charges during large storms. Find out how the company calculates the size of the snowfall. Some contractors may offer a fixed price for an entire season, regardless of the amount of snow.Make sure you know what services you’re getting. Find out exactly what’s included and ask questions. Are the walks and steps included? What about the cost of sand and salt? Will the company clear only after a storm, or during the snowfall as well? If the contractor has to come back, is there an additional charge? Ask if the company will remove heavy snow loads from a building roof top. Is there an additional charge?Ask for references and check them out. Check with BBB for a free Business Review on the contractor you’re planning to use at bbb.org and find companies in our Accredited Business directory. 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.Get contact information. 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, standard contact phone numbers and any special number for urgent needs. Be sure you get the company’s street address and check out the address by doing a reverse check as well as a Google search.