Homeowners warn you about bad deal - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Homeowners warn you about bad deal

June 30, 2004

Dougherty County - Some East Dougherty County homeowners want to warn you about a man who promises to remove the trees from your yard, but doesn't clean up the huge mess. The homeowners say they ended up paying hundreds of dollars to finish the work the man promised to do.

Removing a tree can cost up to $1,000. So when a man knocked on Fred Bell's door with a free offer 2 months ago, he didn't turn him away. "He said 'If you'll give me enough for two loads, I won't charge at all.' So, I said o-kay," said Bell.

Some of his neighbors also agreed to the deal. The man and his small crew cut down dozens of trees in the neighborhood. Bell and his neighbors say the man told them cleaning up the limbs would be their responsibility, but then he left behind huge pieces of the trunks of the trees too. Some were nearly 20 feet long.

"My entire garden was covered solid with brush and wood. I burned a lot of the stuff I could move," said Bell. What he couldn't move Bell paid to get hauled off.

Just a few houses down from Bell, a huge pile of debris remains. Now, there's no sign of the man. "All he was doing was lying to get the trees. They get about $400 a load, so he got about $2,000 worth of prime log." The homeowners got a rotten deal and a big mess.

Bell and the others paid the man about $400 a piece and most never knew his phone number. WALB couldn't find a business license under the man's name in Dougherty County, so a deal that appeared to be too good to be true proved to be just that.

The Georgia Forestry Commission says this is a common problem. To find out if an offer is legitimate, you should call to make sure the business is licensed and never pay until all the work is finished.

Posted at 5:25PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com