An elderly Pennsylvania woman received a bill for $1,200 from a contractor whom she hired to shovel and sweep snow for her one time.
The contractor said that he can’t run his business on minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. Instead, he appears to charge $400 an hour.
The 88-year-old, who told WJAC-TV she wished to remain anonymous, said she saw an ad in a newspaper for Tri-County Chimney Service. She called Tri-County to remove snow from her five window awnings and the top of her carport.
"With a senior citizen, I thought, well surely he wouldn't … If he would've said $500, I wouldn't have thought so much about it, but $1,200 really is hitting the bottom of the barrel,” she said.
She said she was so shocked that she didn’t want to argue with the man and wrote him a check for $1,200.
When WJAC-TV contacted the owner of Tri-County Chimney Service, Mike Robson, he claimed the figure was fair.
Robson said he worked on her house for two to three hours. He called the woman’s home a high-risk job that comes with insurance and liability.
Another local business, Milkie’s Landscaping, told WJAC-TV it only charges $40 an hour for the same service.
Another snow shower is forecasted for Johnstown Thursday, but the woman will think twice before hiring anyone to remove snow again.
"I was careful, but he caught me off guard," she said. "I think when you're 88 years old, surely in the name of God, somebody's not going to pull stuff like that on you."
Pennsylvania citizens reported sky-high electric bills this winter – some of them three times the normal amount.
"These spikes in the price of electricity are alarming and have put many consumers, especially the poor and elderly, in a dire situation," Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in February.