It’s becoming an all too familiar story. Homeowner after homeowner, coming to 7 Action News after forking over nearly $200 dollars to Five Star Landscaping and Snow removal.
Rosemary Zaucha, a Novi homeowner, said she hired the company in December of 2017. Although she typically shovels, she was set to undergo cataract surgery and wouldn't be able to lift.
So she shelled out the money to outsource the job, but told 7 Action News that once the snow hit, the company split.
On eight separate occasions, she said she had to find and pay someone else to do the job, forcing her to shell out another two hundred dollars
But Zaucha is one many. Dozens of Metro Detroiters have reached out to 7 Action News to share their story, all of them with the same complaint.
Five Star company head Karl Bolin told 7 Action News said he would consider returning the money. But to date, he’s only issued a refund to one family.
And despite the complaints, Bolin has asked his customers for even more money sending out an e-mail earlier this month, just before one of the season’s heaviest snowfalls, telling them they’d have to pay an extra $95 to continue service. Meanwhile, our reporting was leading to larger complaints with the state.
The Attorney General's office said 40 consumers came to them since the story was first reported saying they had been ripped off by the company.
Earlier this month, the AG issued the company a cease and desist, to stop any alleged unlawful practices.
The ultimate goal is to get customers their money back. The AG's office is in talks with Five Star's attorney, as the AG's office considers a lawsuit.
In a statement to 7 Action News, that attorney, Seth Seidell said:
“the complaints filed with the attorney general’s office represent a mere fraction of five star’s completely satisfied snow plowing clientele. Steps are being taken...to improve...services...so as to avoid future customer issues.”
The Attorney General's office is still considering complaints.
Anyone wanting to file a complaint with the Attorney General's office can do so online, or through the mail, or by calling the Consumer Protection Division Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at 517-373-1140 or toll free 877-765-8388.