BBB gives advice on avoiding snowplow scams

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan has important advice for people looking to hire a company to clear snow this winter. 

News 8 is looking into complaints from viewers about local snowplow companies and checked in with the BBB to discuss ways consumers can protect themselves from feeling scammed.

“Make sure everything is in writing — absolutely everything,” Troy Baker with the BBB told News 8 Monday. “When you decide you’re going to hire somebody, talk to them about what your expectations are. (For instance,) So, I need to be plowed by 6 a.m. because I have to go to work. Make sure that fits within their schedule.”

He said it’s also helpful to ask what the company’s fleet looks like.

“If you’ve got a company, ask them how many plows they have. If it’s a small company with only one plow, what is your plan if your plow breaks? How am I going to get taken care ok?” Baker explained.

If the company is small, ask to pay in increments or per plow to ensure you’re not out of money if you’re disappointed with the amount of times the company comes by.

Running the business through the BBB’s website, and an internet search is always an important step as well. If you notice a bigger company with a long history have “NR” as their rating, meaning not rated, it’s possible the BBB is investigating the company.

“It’s kind of a way for us to step back and make sure that consumers aren’t being misled,” Baker said. “We don’t want consumers, while we’re investigating, while we’re working through the issue, to come to the website and maybe see this is an A, A+ business, if we have an indication maybe there’s something going on that could cause concern.”

If you have an issue with a company you’ve hired, it’s recommended you file a complaint for the BBB to investigate.