JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- During the aftermath of a storm, some service providers may take advantage of your crisis. There are many complaints about three companies scamming seniors.
"As you can see it is totally ripped up," said Linda Morton.
A few days after Tropical Storm Beryl, a large tree fell over in Morton's sister backyard.
Concerned about the danger to their neighbors, they hired a tree contractor to remove the tree, but it is still there.
"He did a bit of work and left," said Morton.
Morton said the contractor left with a check for $300. The tree service agreed to cut up the fallen tree, remove the stump and the debris for $450, but wanted to be paid upfront.
"We kept looking for him everyday that week and he never came back," she said.
Morton said all the company did was cut the tree into pieces, but that was the last time she saw them.
She and her family had to move the cut up pieces to the curb for city pickup.
There was no written contract, the company's phone number is inactive and now they have to pay another company to finish the job.
Morton said the lesson here is do your homework before you hire a tree company in time of a crisis.
"You want to have people you have checked out that you can call with confidence," she said.
A lesson learned. It will cost an additional $1,500 to clean up the mess.
To avoid falling victim to a tree service scheme before you hire anyone.
1) Check to see if the company is bonded and insured. The owner should provide bonding or insurance certificates.
2) Check with the tax collector for a business tax. No professional license is required.
3) Check at least three of the company's references.
4) Get a written agreement with terms and conditions.
5) Never pay until the job is completed.
First Coast News