3 On Your Side

Homeowner's wallet 'trimmed' by tree service

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(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

A Phoenix homeowner has learned a valuable lesson about hiring help.

Jayne Dittrich went with a low-ball offer for tree-trimming, and ended up getting got burned.

Dittrich enjoys her front yard.  "The house was built in 1980, so I'm going to say it's probably around 30 years," she says of the tree standing in front of her Phoenix home.

According to Dittrich, she likes having that tree, and another one that was just like it, and was recently cut down.

But she got some bad news about those trees recently. "Unfortunately, they're dead," she told 3 On Your Side.

Dittrich says the City of Phoenix sent her a letter saying both trees were dead and that they posed a risk of falling on either her house or a neighbor's property.  So, the trees had to be cut down.

But Dittrich says when she shopped around for tree-cutting services, she got sticker shock. "Anywhere from $700 to $800.  Which, that's a lot of money to me," she explained.

But last month, she came across a company called High Climbers Tree Removal Service run by a guy named Perry Smith.

He reportedly gave Dittrich a rock-bottom price to cut both trees down and to haul them away. "He came to me and said 'I'll do it for $300' and I was like, wow, that's a smoking deal."

Dittrich says Smith started the job when when she had a family emergency and had to immediately leave.

According to Dittrich, Smith said it was absolutely no problem, and that he would finish cutting down the second tree and haul everything off,  just as long as she paid him the $300 in advance. Dittrich says she agreed, paid him, and left.

But when she returned later, she was surprised to find only one tree cut down. Not only were all the limbs and debris left in her yard, but the other tree was left untouched. "Oh yeah, he left as soon as I did; I am sure of it," Dittrich says.

The Phoenix Better Business Bureau gives Perry Smith and his company an "F" rating.

Many consumers have all had similar complaints.  In fact, one customer told the BBB, "He removed some items but never came back..." after being paid.

3 On Your Side went to Smith's Phoenix home, but no one ever came to the door.

However, on the phone, he told me he initially left Dittrich's house because his chainsaw broke.

After promising me he would return, a full month later, he never did.

He called 3 On Your Side again, saying he hadn't finished the job because his chainsaw was stolen.

3 On Your Side gave another deadline but once again, he failed to show.

 In his last voicemail to 3 On Your Side, he said he was on his way to Dittrich's house, but this time his chainsaw had run out of gas and he couldn't make it..

"He needs to not be doing this to someone else. People like single mothers and elderly people because they are trusting him.  He needs to be out of business," says Dittrich .

3 On Your Side recommends looking for at least 3 or 4 quotes, ask for references, check out the BBB rating, and don;t always go with the low-ball offer.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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