About 3 years ago I contacted the local (Long Island) Ned Stevens franchise to have our gutter's cleaned. The initial deal sounded reasonable and the job was done well. As a result we signed up for regular visits. When enrolling for that program I asked why this service would be necessary in the spring if a proper job was done in the fall and was told that "most of our customers sign up for this service". I bit, and signed the contract. The service is provided is a gutter cleaning and system inspection, with an estimate provided for any recommended repairs.
For our latest "service", my next door neighbor was out working in the yard he noticed that the Ned Stevens truck was parked at our house for minutes and the only things he saw the guy do was put the bill for the service in our mailbox.
In order to get the company's attention I chose to not pay that bill and to wait for them to contact me. When that happened I informed them of the problem. While they denied that it was possible that the "tech" would be there for so short a time, a second crew was dispatched to perform the service that was supposedly already provided. Of course, this time the very same system that was supposedly already inspected required maintenance repairs. Enough from me, the following are the responses from the company to the complaint I filed with the Better Business Bureau. You decide if this is the type of company with which you want to do business.
"I am at a loss to what this customer is complaining about - does he or does he not acknowledge signing the authorization form requesting a June gutter cleaning?!? What his neighbor's "opinion" is of the situation is totally irrelevant. Why in the world would that matter to anyone in a business situation???? Nothing will make this customer happy other than us acquiescing on the invoice. He requested the service. It is evidenced by his signature which we provided a copy of in our original response. He is not debating that he signed for the service. Why would we give in here? The customer requested a service and we performed it. He is not even arguing that point. My offer at this point is to cut the bill in 1/2 and cut ties with this customer. We did work at this home - he wasn't even there to refute that fact."
"The service provided was a simple gutter cleaning. In the course of doing such work, a crew may - OR MAY NOT - find additional work needed that is beyond the scope of gutter cleaning. Sometimes, this work is considered essential by the homeowner and sometimes the homeowner can "live with it" as is. In this case, the foreman did not note anything during the first visit. For the 2nd visit, the 2nd foreman was alerted to the fact that we were returning to the home due to a "callback" for a customer who believed nothing was done at the time of the first visit. As such, a much more thorough analysis of the gutters is performed - again, beyond the scope of a typical gutter cleaning. What was found by the foreman was that one gutter was slightly off pitch and there was standing water in that one gutter. Furthermore, various (5) miter boxes (corners) were leaking. These are not considered significant or crucial repairs but, we like to bring it to the attention of the homeowner and let the homeowner make the decision as to how they would like to proceed. As an added note, just the same as you may find when you go to 2 Dr's or 2 Accountants, you may get 2 differing opinions - one foreman might feel the situation warrants noting, another foreman may feel the issue is insignificant and not note it. That is the explanation as to why no info was left at the first visit and yet some repair info was left at the 2nd visit.
Finally, the answer to the consumers second question with respect to the charges is - Yes, the charge is the same wether we remove one leaf from the gutters or 8 bags full of leaves. We consider the service a s a whole and do not delineate between how much or how little debris was removed during the course of a visit. Does the car wash change its price based on how much or how little debris is on the car? Does Jiffy lube change their price based on how dirty or clean the removed oil is? Do they charge less if you are a quart short? Does your landscaper charge less if the grass only grew 1/2 inch between visits as opposed to the usual 1"? The answer is NO - This is a service - not a consummable item. Our crew runs through the same procedures either way. The gutters are inspected, the spikes are renailed, the system is flushed, any debris removed is raked, bagged and taken away."
What we find most interesting in these cases (be it we don't have many of them!) is the lack of ethics displayed. Again, the consumer does not for 1 second dispute that he signed for the service. He does not for 1 second dispute that we were there on June 1 and that we returned again on July 19. Furthermore, why isn't it mentioned in the consumer's complaint that he never contacted us upon hearing the information from his "police officer neighbor" or when he found the original invoice in the mailbox on June 1. No, instead, the consumer decided to render his complaint only upon receiving a call from our office on 7/11/2011 concerning the delayed payment for the service. We find this to be indicative of a consumer who never intended on paying in the first place.