Homeowners left adrift by Mentor snow removal service

Homeowners left adrift by Mentor snow removal service

(WOIO) - In the past 30 days,

has received eight complaints from homeowners in the Eastlake and Mentor areas about

. The business placed flyers in mailboxes offering snow removal "For the Whole Season" for $150. It claimed to be fully-insured with more than 15 years experience and would plow when snow exceeded 2 inches, "twice a day if needed."

According to complaints with the BBB, Just 4 You Snow Plowing did not perform as promised.

A Mentor homeowner told the BBB, "This gentleman has failed to show up and plow my drive for the last three snow storms averaging 14", 8" and 5". I had to pay someone else to come and plow me out. I contracted this man because I am 65 and unable to do my own shoveling, due to heart problems. He plowed me out three times in December and has not shown up since."

Other homeowners who were also left to fend for themselves after heavy snowfalls complained that the business did not respond to calls or its voice mailbox was full and could not take any calls. Two additional phone numbers provided to one customer are both disconnected. 

Consumers tell the BBB that Just 4 You Snow Plowing is owned by Keith Stewart. Stewart has also been identified as the owner of Stewart & Sons Landscaping which has an 'F' rating for failing to respond to complaints about not honoring prepaid contracts for snow removal last year. 

The BBB offers these tips for choosing a snow removal service:

- Choose a Reputable Company: Check the company's BBB Business Review and Customer Reviews at bbb.org/cleveland or by phone at (216) 241-7678. 

- Get Written Estimates: Don't just pick the first company that leaves a flyer at your door. Compare the services offered by several companies as well as the prices. The lowest price is not always the best deal. Ask what backup plan the company has if a truck breaks down during a heavy snowfall. Get customer references and call them to see if the company was reliable.

- Get a Written Contract: When you've selected a company, be sure your contract includes the company's address and, preferably, two telephone numbers to reach them. The contract should define the length of the service. It should be more specific than just "winter." Beginning and ending dates should be clearly stated. Some contracts may be for a certain number of snow removals or "pushes." The contract should also specify when removal will occur (e.g. accumulations of 2 inches or more). Find out what happens if we get a late season snowfall after your contract has ended. What will you be charged for additional pushes?

- Insurance: Is the company fully-insured in case of damage to property? Be sure to get it in writing on your contract.

- Spring Cleanup: Don't assume the company will return in the spring to repair any damage to your lawn or other property. Get it in writing.

- Payment Terms: Ask the contractor about payment options. Some may charge for the entire season in advance, but check to see if you can pay monthly, by the "push" or other terms.

Remember to put stakes or other markers around the boundaries of your driveway to minimize damage to your yard or landscape decorations.

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