Ruth to the Rescue: Snow removal investigation

Ruth to the Rescue helps Southfield woman with snow removal service problem

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - We all know Michigan winters can be brutal, and shoveling snow is never much fun.

Tiffany Tilley, of Southfield, hoped hiring The Snow Guys of Livonia would make this winter a little more bearable.

"Every year they send me the letter to use their company for snow removal services," she told Ruth to the Rescue.

Tilley says she paid the company $100 up front to plow just her driveway but says she was disappointed after the first big snow the week of Christmas.

"Here is it, my birthday, right after Christmas and my child is in the driveway trying to do what I paid for the service to do," said Tilley.

Tilley and The Snow Guys disagree over efforts to communicate about her complaint. Tilley showed Ruth to the Rescue three emails she says she sent to the company about her complaint. She also contacted Ruth to the Rescue.

We checked our archives and found Local 4 Consumer Ruth Expert has tracked down the owner of The Snow Guys in 2011, when a local couple wanted a refund during a dispute over service.

Before Ruth met with the owner again, the rescue unit checked in with the Better Business Bureau. While The Snow Guys had an "F" rating in 2011, the company is currently not rated as it tried to resolve outstanding complaints.

Melanie Duquesnel, CEO of the local Better Business Bureau said, "I think the only reason we're not saying 'Don't do business!' is that they did reach out to us, when we were not bugging them."

The Better Business Bureau says The Snow Guys have racked up 82 complaints in the last three years, and 21 in the last six months. The agency includes this language in its online review... "This company has evidenced a pattern of complaints related to failure to provide snow removal services as contracted."

Owner responds to Ruth to the Rescue

The owner of The Snow Guys, John Church, once again vigorously defended his company when he spoke to Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer.

"We always go out there every time it snows. We have never not shown up," he told Ruth while they spoke outside his home.

Church says in Tilley's case, his trucks did try to plow, but there was a vehicle parked in the driveway, which makes plowing too dangerous.

Ruth asked the owner if he would consider giving Tilley a refund. He said, "I don't have the records in front of me. I'm not going to go dig them up right now. I will look at that. I'm an honest man. If my people missed the job and didn't do the job, of course, I'll issue a credit, a refund, something to make it up to her."

In the end, although Church says his guys did show up to plow Tilley's driveway, he promised to give her a refund, as a gesture of good faith.

Church also sent Ruth to the Rescue a written statement:

The Snow Guys Inc. exists to provide reasonably prompt and inexpensive snow removal services to our community. We try to do so in every circumstance, recognizing that weather can be unpredictably demanding. Those drivers who work with us are human beings, subject to the same limitations and frailties
common to all. We have no magic wand to make snow go away. It is hard work and important work. We do our best to do it well. Sometimes that takes more time and effort than others, and weather-related problems can be frustrating for anybody. Most of our customers understand and accept this fact, even as we work hard to service all of them as soon as we can.

Out of these challenges, however, sometimes concerns do arise. For that reason, when a complaint comes from a customer, we to try to address it quickly and responsibly. Usually we succeed, to the satisfaction of the customer. Any customer complaint is subjects to prompt attention. None are ignored or left unresolved. We have full time staff dedicated to being responsive every working day. Even when we are out plowing, our phone lines are set to inform any customer who calls of that fact. We offer budget-conscious service according to the express terms of service agreement chosen and signed by each customer, and we stick to the terms of that contract.
That is the best way to ensure basic driveway snow removal at a reasonable time and price.

Hundreds of customers are served and over two dozen drivers are on task every time the snow flies. We have been providing effective removal services for nearly 20 years. Our rates are low. Our service is reasonable. Our phone number is published. We have received many letters of thanks and commendation over the years from happy customers, hundreds of whom renew with us year after year. It is an honor to serve such a community,
and we hope to continue to do so for years to come.

My name is John Church. While I am not perfect, I stand behind my company and our work. So do almost all of our customers. Thank you.

Better Business Bureau

If you have a complaint about any snow removal company, you should follow up with the Better Business Bureau. Click on the link here.

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