MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- When three people complain about the same company all at once, FOX6's Contact 6 takes notice -- especially if customers aren't able to get out of their driveways!
Two heavy snowfalls in December 2013 left people scrambling to get the snow moved so they could get moving.
Jean Stuempfl paid $350 to Steve's Outdoor Services for seasonal snow removal. However, Stuempfl says owner Steve Johnson didn't live up to his contract. He promised to shovel anything more than two inches of snow, and missed the two biggest snowfall days of the year.
"They would come out after the fact. They just weren't dependable," Stuempfl said.
Contact 6 received three complaints in one week against Steve's Outdoor Services, all claiming the company wasn't providing the service they paid for.
"I think it stinks. I don't mind paying him if he does his job within a decent amount of time, but if he doesn't do his job he shouldn't get paid," Stuempfl said.
Contact 6 asked Johnson for an explanation. He declined to go on camera, but sent a statement, saying he has reached an understanding with Stuempfl, something she says hasn't happened.
The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has revoked the company's membership, because it received 11 complaints, but Randall Hoth, president and CEO of the Wisconsin BBB, says he still wants to work with consumers on understanding best practices when hiring a landscaping or snow removal service.
"Making a deposit is perfectly legitimate knowing that if you make a deposit on this contract, we will show up and do the plowing. You're making a good faith deposit, or an estimate, or what you could spend in the year. That's not unusual. That's not unreasonable," Hoth said.
Even if you decide to make a full payment up front, put it on your credit card. Your credit card company can protect you if the work isn't completed.
Also -- ask the company for customer references so you can call them and ask what kind of work they do.
And -- always get a signed contract spelling out what work will be done and when, because you want your agreement like you want your sidewalk and driveway -- clear and safe.