Snow removal company not doing job in Windsor woman says
Old man winter has certainly left his mark across Ontario this season with residents trying to keep up with clean driveways and sidewalks. For some that means getting assistance from a snow removal company.
Some customers say one particular company accused of signing contracts with homeowners and not showing up is causing major headaches across the province, including here in Windsor.
All Carolyn Stanzel wanted this winter was a reprieve from shovelling snow.
"I've been considering a snow removal company for a couple of years and when the flyers came to the door, the price was fairly reasonable," says Stanzel.
The flyer Stanzel is referring to is from Property Connect Inc. — advertising 24-hour service and guaranteed snow removal.
"I paid $334 for the season, from November 1 to March 31."
Stanzel says the company was fulfilling the contract up until this past Tuesday, right before Windsor was walloped with over 12 cm of snow.
“(Snow) was so high; it was up to the car door. When I came back and saw it still hadn't been done,” she says. “I thought they would still come, and it wasn't until I got that message that no one was coming and I was going to have to do this myself."
The message stated: Thank you for calling Property Connect Incorporated. We regret to inform you that all snow removal clients that due to circumstances beyond our control, PCI has ceased operations and will be unable to provide snow removal services as of February 4, 2014 to season's end."
“There was nothing on the contract that stated anything about them not completing the season or requiring further funds if we had a certain amount of snowfall," says Stanzel. “I was completely in shock when I heard this message."
We sent a camera to PCI’s London head office and then to the home of owner Dave Havers, but no answer. Our calls to the company’s toll-free number were simply met by the automated message. Our emails have also gone unanswered.
Turns out some residents in six Ontario cities including Windsor, Sarnia and Barrie have filed complaints.
"We’ve received 59 complaints about them, starting in November when we had our first big snowfall," says Deborah Brady of the Better Business Bureau.
Brady says Property Connect claimed their company was approved by the bureau, but in fact officials had graded them with an "F".
"Last year they were operating under a different name, called Precision Property Solutions. They experienced the same type of problems, but on a smaller scale," Brady says.
In the meantime, Stanzel says this experience wouldn't deter her from hiring another snow removal company in the future, but she says she will always do her homework.
Windsor police says cases like this run a fine line between a civil matter and fraud. They say all cases like this should be reported to police.