How to Avoid Snow Removal Scams

Every year, people get taken in by scammers. In summer, these schemes tend to focus on roofing and/or the paving of driveways. In winter, the most popular scams center on snow removal. They can happen to anyone. However, there are ways to recognize scammers, and to avoid losing money, you cannot afford to throw away.

Snow Removal Scams: The Basics

Snow removal or snow plow scams frequently prey on the disabled and the elderly. They know many cities such as Boston MA and Toronto ON, require their residents to remove the snow from their sidewalks. Some people cannot do so. To avoid fines, they need to hire someone to do it for them.

Scammers know this. They place flyers in mailboxes or, in some cases, go door-to-door advertising their highly affordable services. They offer their would-be-victims a deal that seems too good to ignore e.g. twice a week snow removal services from now until the snow stops. All you have to do is pay half now and sign this contract.

Representatives actually show up at your door after the phone call with an apparently legit contract in hand. They do not give you time to hesitate, ask questions, or check the contact information. They use hard-sell tactics to get you to sign the contract then take your money.

The problem is, after you have provided them with the requested money, you may not see them again. In some instances, a person may show up to shovel the sidewalk once or twice. However, s/he may also request payment, saying the person who has contracted them to actually do the snow removal has not paid them. When a complaint is laid with the Better Business Bureau or the police, it is found the company no longer exists.

Avoiding Snow Removal Scams

If you want to avoid getting sucked in by a snowplow scam, you have to do your due diligence. Prior to signing on with any snow plow contractor, request references. Never sign a contract with someone at your door until you have checked out their company’s credentials including, license and identification. The resources are available online, and you can always call the BBB to find out if they have had any complaints about each company.

In addition, talk to neighbors, friends, and colleagues about whether they use a snow removal service. If they do, ask about their level of satisfaction. Compile a list of names and comparison shop, checking to see what they offered in terms of:

· Services: What do they include? Do they only do driveways? Do they have package deals with driveways, sidewalks, and walkways?

· Factors affecting price: Does the depth of snow or the property layout have an impact on the price? Some companies do charge by the inch and not by the job.

· Contract: Do you have to sign a contract for an entire season?

· Technology: What type of equipment do they use? This applies particularly to those who have pets and children. Some ice melts and deicers can negatively impact their well-being. Moreover, if you have a brick driveway, it is important to know whether the snow plow or snow blower will damage it.

One of the best ways to avoid scammers is not to rely on flyers or door-to-door agents. Instead, use a reliable third-party service such as Edenapp available on Apple, Android, and Edenapp.com. It can help you find exactly what you need at a price you can afford. You can then choose the snow removal services you need and want, knowing the company is going to take care of them. You can then get on with your daily life, not worrying about what to do when a snowstorm strikes.