OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -- — The Nebraska Attorney General's Civil Consumer Division is investigating whether or not Steve's Yard Care violated the Consumer Protection Act or the United Deceptive Trade Practices Act because of 30 complaints since 2015. They're looking into services not authorized or performed, billing improper past due amounts, continuing to bill after services were discontinued, and harassing collection practices.
The company has taken more than 80 people to collections for back payment in the last year. During our investigation, 3 News Now got in touch with more than a quarter of them, and almost all of which said Steve used shady business practices to charge them for services they never asked for or were unnecessary.
Shee Covarrubias says in April she had Steve's do one treatment for $49 but two months later had a bill saying she owed almost $500 for continued treatments she never authorized.
"He said, 'Well I'll just send you to collections.' I said, 'You're not going to send me to collection for something I don't owe,'" Covarrubias explained. "I was angry and I was frustrated and I kind of had a panic moment like, 'Well what am I going to do now?' I don't owe this money and if he takes me to court or sends me to collections then what do I do?"
Owner Steve Kozal's attorney, James Martin Davis, says he's not a crook, and hasn't seen anything that says he duped customers or falsified records. Kozal hasn't been charged criminally and no one has filed a countersuit.
"He wouldn't have turned those bills over to collections if he didn't genuinely believe it was owed to him," Davis explained. "If we need to take cases out of collection we will do that, if we need to refund money he'll do that but we've got to have some evidence."
The issue is currently being investigated as a civil matter so if the company is found to have defrauded someone they can order a cease and desist or restitution.
If you've been taken to collections and feel you have evidence to support why you shouldn't have pay email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reference Steve's Yard Care in the subject line.