BUFFALO, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Tuesday that he has filed a lawsuit against a snowplowing company that allegedly took money for snow removal services that were never performed.
Scott Romero and Richard Marrapese, owners of Extreme Snowplowing, allegedly collected approximately $100,000 in advance payments from over 400 Western New Yorkers but failed to plow their driveways as contracted.
"Anyone who endured this most recent series of storms, particularly here in Western New York, knows that snow removal is not a luxury, but a necessity," Schneiderman said.
"Showing an utter disregard for the safety of its customers, Extreme Snowplowing literally left hundreds of Western New Yorkers out in the cold. Many of these victims are elderly, some need in-home care, and some simply lack the physical capacity to shovel snow themselves."
Buffalo and the surrounding areas were hit hard by four straight days of snow in early December, but Romero and Marrapese allegedly failed to plow any of the driveways or only plowed on one or two occasions.
Calls to the company found either no answer or a voicemail that was at capacity, Schneiderman said. This led to many people paying for additional service from a different plow company, it is alleged.
"This is completely unacceptable, and we plan to leave no stone unturned to seek justice in this matter," Schneiderman said.
The lawsuit alleges that Extreme Snowplowing defrauded customers with misrepresentations in its advertisements. The ads claimed that the company was fully insured, had 24 hour radio dispatch response and had 15 trucks available. Schneiderman says these were false.
"Consumer fraud impacts our daily way of life," Schneiderman said. "I encourage people who feel they've been victimized or scammed to let us know. I'm here in Western New York to make clear that our offices are accessible and responsive to the consumers we protect and serve."
Schneiderman is seeking restitution for consumers, injunctive relief and penalties. He is also asking for a court order for a temporary restraining order that would stop the owners of the company from destroying records or freezing its funds.