Greece, N.Y. --- By all accounts this has been a mild winter, which makes recent customer complaints to 13WHAM News and the Better Business Bureau all that more puzzling. A local company operating under the name Northshore Lawncare appears to have collected numerous upfront payments for plow contracts and then failed to honor some of those contracts.
Customers have complained to 13WHAM News and the Better Business Bureau which is now issuing “an alert on Northshore Lawncare” after repeated efforts to contact the company have failed.
13WHAM News was able to help one customer obtain a partial refund and while they wanted to help warn others they declined to be part of a news report out of fear that the company would retaliate in some way. That customer claims Northshore Lawncare only showed up to plow one time all season.
Another customer tells 13WHAM News that they paid in full at the beginning of the season and have never seen a plow, never received a refund, and can not locate or contact the company.
“Unfortunately our mail from the address given to us by consumers and the address we tried to pursue these through, our mail was returned by the post office," Pat Coakley of the Better Business Bureau explained while detailing some of the complaints the BBB has received.
We went looking for the company, first at a Stonewood Avenue address in Greece that most customers seemed to have on their contracts. Neighbors there told us the folks with Northshore Lawncare trucks moved out more than a month ago.
"Yeah they were here, they had two trucks and the brother was living here," Dan Newhouse who lived next door said. Newhouse also recalls another upset Northshore customer who knocked on his door awhile back in search of the company.
"(He) came up and said do you know anybody from Northshore we're looking for them, I know they lived here and we signed a contract and I'm worried about the snow. I paid to have my driveway plowed and I don't know if they're coming or not," Newhouse said of that conversation. "I'd be looking for them too."
The Monroe County Clerk’s Office has on file a Doing Business As (DBA) form that lists Northshore Lawncare as being in a woman’s name. The address for the business comes back to an Affinity Lane apartment in Greece but the current tenant of that apartment tells 13WHAM News she moved in last August and has never heard of Northshore Lawncare. Other neighbors said the same thing.
"People, you know, they've spent a lot of money," Coakley from the BBB said. “We're at a standstill."
Since customers and the BBB have reported trouble getting in touch with this company 13WHAM News made attempts to and tried various phone numbers we’d obtained in the course of our investigation.
After leaving one message we managed to get in touch with a man named John that customers appear to have been dealing with. In the course of a ten minute profanity-laced conversation John explained that his ex-girlfriend, the woman listed on the DBA, left him and took one of his trucks too. He referred to her as the owner of the company and said she should be the one answering questions.
13WHAM’s attempts to contact her were unsuccessful.
John also proceeded to explain that all his customers received phone calls about his phone number changing and that it was their problem if they didn’t get the message. He also used profane language when describing his customers and threatened that 13WHAM News would be sued if this made the news.
A Greece Police Department spokesman tells 13WHAM News that officers have, over the course of the winter, fielded complaints about this company. At present, none of the complaints appear to have risen to the criminal level according to the spokesman.
The BBB tells 13WHAM News that some other related companies under different names may be associated with the same individuals involved in Northshore Lawncare but they are continuing to investigate.
The BBB is asking anyone wishing to file a complaint or provide additional information about Northshore Lawncare to contact them through this website www.upstateny.bbb.org or by phone at 1-800-828-5000