Ruth to the Rescue warns of scamming animal control company
Local animal control company did nothing but remove homeowner's money, not critters
Like a lot of homeowners, Jeff Smythe didn't know exactly what to do when he realized squirrels had invaded his attic.
"They've been running around there for quite some time and I had to go online to find somebody to take them out," he told Ruth to the Rescue.
Jeff called the numbers on this website for Affordable Animal Removal, made an appointment, and someone came to his house. "They set a couple of traps, they said they'd be out in four days to remove the traps and seal up the points," according to Smythe.
He says someone quickly cashed his check for $375 dollars, but four days went by, and Jeff says no one ever came back. "After I left a bunch of voice mail messages and wrote some emails through their website, it was clear they weren't going to call me back," he said.
Similar stories from two customers
Jeff Smythe wasn't the only person to contact Ruth to the Rescue. Another viewer shared a copy of a cashier’s check for $375 his wife had given to the company he contacted via the same website.
The stories has the similarities- the same amount of money: $375. Each family called the same number on the website. And- both customers told Ruth to the Rescue someone named "Kyle" came out to the house.
Local 4 Consumer Reporter Ruth Spencer called the number on the website and got in touch with someone named Kyle. He said he owned the company, but was now in Houston, Texas. What followed were some evasive answers to Ruth's questions. For starters, he wouldn't give me his last name.
Defending his company
Kyle defended his company, saying a former co-owner was the target of complaints, and he was forced out. The Kyle on the phone also said he is not the Kyle who visited the homes of our disgruntled customers. He says it could have been an employee.
Kyle claims Affordable Animal Removal has plenty of satisfied customers. "Well, I mean I understand that there are two cases that are bad, but for those two cases that are bad, we have thousands that are good." he told Local 4 Consumer Reporter Ruth Spencer.
She asked, "I guess what I really want to know is, can your refund them the money?"
Kyle answered, "Yeah, as long as they're our customers and I can verify that."
We gave Kyle contact information for both of our customers on Thursday, May 14th. So far, both customers tell us they have not been contacted about a refund. The Ruth to the Rescue unit reached out to Kyle, left a message, but has not heard back.
Here's a Ruth to the Rescue tip: If you're looking for a company to help with animal control, go the state Department of Natural Resources to check on their license. We could not find Affordable Animal Removal on the list, which was pages and pages long.
Here's a link to the DNR website. Once you go to the website, click on List of 2011 Permitted Nuisance Animal Control Businesses