FORT WAYNE – In April, a local mans snow removal business lost accreditation with the Better Business Bureau.
Now, hes being sued by the Indiana Attorney General.
Greg Zoellers office filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Fort Wayne Snow Removal Corp. and its owner, Brian Thornton, alleging that promised services to customers were not provided.
Sixteen consumers paid a total of $3,429 upfront for snow removal but did not receive any or all of the services, according to the lawsuit.
None of the customers received a written contract explaining the terms of the service either, which is required by state law, the suit said.
Thornton could not be reached for comment. Calls to Fort Wayne Snow Removals listed number were met with a busy signal.
Two of the 16 complaints reported to the attorney general said that some services were provided, but the jobs Thornton was paid to do were not fully completed, according to the Zoellers office.
Five of the 16 customers retrieved their payments via credit card charge-backs, according to the attorney general.
In this case, consumers were led to believe that the company had adequate resources available to make good on its promises, Zoeller said in a written statement. Unfortunately, these customers were left with snow covered driveways and many without refunds.
At least one Allen County resident received a robocall from the company soliciting its services, which was made in violation of the states Do Not Call law and Automatic Dialing Machine Act, according to Zoellers lawsuit.
The company is also accused of violating the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the Home Improvement Contracts Act, according to Zoellers office.
His office is seeking to void the contracts of the 16 consumers in the lawsuit and keep the company from not supplying written contracts to consumers in the future.
Thornton started his business in Fort Wayne in 2011 and told The Journal Gazette in 2012 that he had a successful season with about 400 local customers.
He then said he planned to hire aggressively.
Thornton also created similar businesses in other Midwest cities, all of which have websites that were not working Wednesday.
By April of this year, though, the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana downgraded Fort Wayne Snow Removals ranking from an A to a C, meaning it was no longer accredited with the bureau.
At the time, Thornton called it a punch to the gut and claimed the company had 400 customers in 11 states and had done 10 times the volume compared to the previous year.