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Consumer alert from the Attorney General on snowplowing companies

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by grandview, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Office of Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert for Hiring Snowplow Contractors

    By WKBW News

    Office of Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert for Hiring Snowplow Contractors
    October 28, 2011 Updated Oct 28, 2011 at 12:15 PM EDT

    Albany, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- As the winter months begin to set in, and many upstate New Yorkers are in the process of hiring snow removal contractors to clear their driveways, storefronts and parking lots, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Friday issued tips consumers should know before they make hiring decisions.

    "Upstate New Yorkers know that snow removal is an essential part of everyday life during the winter season," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Before the first snowfall, consumers should be aware of their rights, know what to look for when hiring a contractor, and what questions to ask. We want to educate consumers on the front end in order to help them avoid becoming a victim of an unscrupulous individual."

    The Attorney General's office recognizes that most snowplowing and snow removal service owners and operators are honest, but problems can arise. Consumers should take the following precautions when hiring contractors for snow removal to help protect themselves from fraud:

    • Obtain several quotes to plow your driveway. This will give consumers a good sense of the range of prices currently being offered.

    • Don't accept a quote simply because it's the lowest. If a quote is very low, the contractor may run out of money before the winter season is over or the contractor may not have money to pay for repairs when a vehicle breaks down.

    • Use a contractor that has been in business for a few years. The winter season brings out many people who decide to get into the snowplowing business. New businesses may have the best of intentions, but may not have the necessary experience.

    • Check to see if your local government requires snow plow contractors to be licensed. If so, use a contractor who is licensed.

    • Use a contractor who is insured and has proof of insurance.

    • Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org.

    • Pay one half of the contract at the beginning of the season, and one half at the end to help ensure that services promised will be provided.

    • Pay by check so you have proof of payment.

    • Get a signed contract that has the name, address (do not accept a post office box) and telephone number of the snowplow operator. The contract should spell out how much snow must fall before the operator is required to plow your driveway.

    • Obtain proof of identity of the contractor. Ask to see the contractor’s driver's license and copy down the address and identification number.

    • Copy down the license plate number of the vehicle that plows your driveway.

    • If you have special requirements, spell it out in the contract (for example, if you are an emergency responder who must have your driveway plowed by 7:00 a.m to get to work -- make sure it is in the contract).

    If consumers feel they have been victimized, they are urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Helpline: (800) 771-7755.
     
  2. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,988

    I don't have anything to hide but I'd be reluctant to give my driver license and have them writing down my license plate numbers...

    Interesting
     
  3. snoway63

    snoway63 Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    Same here,never give your id number to anyone other then law enforcement or your insurance carrier, or you could wind up in trouble and for the AG to state that no wonder our gov is messed up, maybe we can call him and ask for his LOL
     
  4. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    from Ontario
    Messages: 3,590

    In a case when contractors run with your money how else would you track them down if they don't have a business address or facility? I call it consumer protection. How many Guys did run around here last winter? Same Guy scammed 3 different areas in the GTA.
     
  5. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,988

    I understand the scam and that people should be carefull... Why dont you post up your drivers license number here? Since you got no personal identity to loose... Coming from a guy who changed his plowsite name so it dosent directly represent his company :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  6. snoway63

    snoway63 Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    Its ok to show them your ID so they can see you are who you say but not to let them writ down your id number, plus if you are legit you would also have your info on your letterhead that they can match up with your id, but to just let someone write down your id number is asking for trouble because you dont know who else will have access to it.
    As far as them checking you out they can call or go online to check with your county clerks office to see if you are legit
     
  7. 7_below

    7_below Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    Interesting
     
  8. magnum1

    magnum1 Senior Member
    from ID & ND
    Messages: 249

    Another politician expressing ( or imposing ) their agenda on folks who are not given the credit they deserve by these bureaucratic bast (opps) . Most people do have enough common sense to avoid these issues. I would hope that most contractors have the back bone to be fair and honest with potential new and existing clients.
    I have had enough rules, regs, new laws imposed on us by these people ( who know whats best for us ) to last me the rest of my life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  9. Goldendog

    Goldendog Junior Member
    from Alaska
    Messages: 23

    That is why I never returned home to NY after I retired from the military. Loved growing up outside of Watertown but the state government is just messed up. Love Alaska anyway. Good luck for the season. Looks like you have snow coming tomorrow. I don't have any up here yet at all.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  10. pooleo8

    pooleo8 Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    well ya know, all those yuppies over there can't think for themselves. They need some sort of guidance. And as for the snow heading that way, I hope those protestors can hang! LMAO
     
  11. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I wouldn't wait till the end of the season to get half the money from a residential. Have been burned more than once by doing this. If we break into payments it's beginning of season, then January. There are some tips in there but a lot of BS as well.
     
  12. KBTConst

    KBTConst Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    Plate # to me is no big deal any one can write it down but the drivers license no way sounds like another way for us to get scammed, if the customer does there home work and hire companys that has a good rep.they don't need it!
     
  13. magnum1

    magnum1 Senior Member
    from ID & ND
    Messages: 249

    We need simpler less complicated laws in reference to collections on delinquent accounts, Also a reasonable interest rate for slow pay accounts
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    It's a little different posting your drivers licence on an open forum versus someone asking for it to make sure you'll plow their driveway. IMO if the contractor wouldn't give it to me I would find someone else to do the work. We need to get rid of the scammers and a knowledgeable customer will help fix the problem.
     
  15. magnum1

    magnum1 Senior Member
    from ID & ND
    Messages: 249

    Reputable LISCENSED contractors should have their company name, address and contractors lic. # 's on any contracts presented to clients. That is all the client requires
    ( if they do their home work ) Customers need only to call the proper licensing authority
    to inquire about a contractors lic, insurances. and bonds, they should also check with the BBB
     
  16. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,988

    Not really, who knows what kind of freak show you could be giving your drivers license # to and where that info will end up if you give it to 100 different people.............. Why not give them your SIN while your at it, do you want my credit card number as well so you can charge that incase I don't show up to do your driveway... Maybe its a smaller town kinda thing where you can trust most people but I'd still say, find someone else to plow your driveway bud, I don't really care, I'll do your neighbours and you go right ahead and find someone who will give you all that info and see if they're anymore honest or better then I am...

    You can cross the border with your drivers license so that info on there must be pretty darn important.........

    I come to do a landscape job for you, will you give me your drivers license just incase so I can get paid for my work? How do I know you own and live at this property? It might be your parents place and I'll get screwed on the deal... How stupid does that sound?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  17. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    • Don't accept a quote simply because it's the lowest. If a quote is very low, the contractor may run out of money before the winter season is over or the contractor may not have money to pay for repairs when a vehicle breaks down.

    That's my favorite part. I got a pre-storm call last night because the girl who normally plows broke her truck and can't do it. She charges $20. She fits the bill. The homeowner also asked if I take checks, because she only had $20 cash...and I wouldn't touch it for that. Just goes to show the stereotype we have. Cash only, no paper trail, no taxes, cutthroat, guys plowing for beer money. And the state publishes these advice columns and now people are gonna ask for your driving abstract and a resume to plow their driveway for $35.00 a push. People want you to committ and know you're gonna show up when it snows but as soon as you give them a contract to sign...to make them committ to paying, they hesitate. Far less B.S. in commercial work.
     
  18. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    You can't cross the border with a drivers license, just so you know. Credit card numbers and your sin number are a little different. I have nothing to hide and it wouldn't bother me giving someone my DL. It also wouldn't bother me giving you a deposit on my Visa for a landscape job, I would consider that a deposit.
     
  19. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,988

    Ontario drivers who are Canadian citizens can now apply for the Ontario Enhanced Driver's Licence.

    Nine ServiceOntario centres are now accepting applications for this passport alternative, which can be used at Canada-U.S. land and water border crossings.

    Why an Enhanced Driver's Licence?

    Starting June 1, 2009, the United States government requires all Canadian citizens entering the U.S. by land or water to present a valid passport or other approved secure document that denotes the bearer's identity and citizenship.

    The enhanced driver's licence was developed by the Ontario government, in consultation with the Government of Canada and United States Government, as a passport alternative for Ontarians who are Canadian citizens to use when entering the U.S. by land or water.

    Changing to an enhanced driver's licence is completely voluntary. It is ideal for a licensed driver who frequently travels to the U.S. by motor vehicle. It's less expensive than a passport and can be conveniently stored inside a wallet just like a regular driver's licence.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  20. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,046

    You don't even have an enhanced licence. LOL So what are you worried about. I love how many contractors are worried about not getting paid, if all the contractors were ethical and did what they said we wouldn't have consumers that had to protect themselves from being screwed. I'm not saying give your licence number to someone crazy but if asked I would. I ask people for driver's abstracts before they can work for me, I guess they should be reluctant to give it to me. Your talking about 1 customer out of 100 that would ask for it, they've probably been burnt in the past so your just calming their nerves. If I'm buying a vehicle from a private source I always ask for a photo copy of their DL to compare it to the ownership, I only had one case where the seller wouldn't give it to me and guess what I didn't buy the truck. Something was fishy about the whole deal anyways.