12 On Your Side: Senior loses $2,000 to tree service

12 On Your Side
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The recent cold snap is a good reminder to start preparing your home for colder weather and that often means trimming back trees. But before you hire a landscaping service, it's good to to your homework.

Connie Duke's front yard has been named best yard in her neighborhood. However, she doesn't feel like celebrating.

"Oh, I am very angry. I think it's a terrible way to do someone," Duke said.

The 69-year-old woman says her tree nightmare began in September. She noticed a crew working in a neighbor's yard. She asked them if they would mind stopping by later to trim back a few of her own tree limbs. They said OK for $45.

But a few hours later, the owner of the company came and introduced himself.

"Then later the guy came over and told me I needed all my trees cut down," Duke said.

The owner of Jungle Man Tree Service told her she was in danger and all of her trees needed to go.

"I said, I like trees, I don't want to cut all my trees down," she said.

She eventually agreed to let him get rid of three for $2,000.

Duke says the owner told her he would be out the next day. But the next day came and went and her trees still stood strong. She began to ask questions.

"I did check into his company and they are not licensed and I really don't want someone cutting down pine trees because some of these pine trees are 90 feet high," she said.

Duke tried to stop payment on the check, but it was too late.

"I think I was just not thinking, I was excited about getting the limbs cut, and I was just not thinking good," she said.

Duke wishes she thought things out before handing over the money. All she can do now is warn others not to make the same mistake.

The owner of Jungle Man Tree Service told News 12 On Your Side that he would return Duke's money. At the time this story aired, he had not given her the money back.

Duke has filed an incident report and is pursuing charges.

If you're looking for a tree service, don't make the same mistake. Do your research. You want to make sure the person is licensed to work in your county, is bonded and insured and has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.

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