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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Elinor Chase recently retired and wants to enjoy the use of her backyard. In March she hired Robert McCormick to makeover her backyard.

"He brought in four loads of dirt and put in ten fence panels," said Chase. "It is unfinished, it is terrible."

Chase signed a contract with McCormick and has paid him $7,700 to date.

"I'm angry,very angry," she said.

Angry because she trusted him to transform her Englewood backyard.

"I was taken in, I should have been informed," said Chase.

She said she did her due diligence and checked him out before she hired him. She said the review website HomeAdvisor.com gave him a good review.

"He had a decent rating with the better business bureau,'' she said.

But when the project started falling apart, she said McCormick started avoiding her calls.

"I don't want him to do this to anyone else." said Chase. "I have filed a complaint with the state."

Rob McCormick blamed the delays on his relationship with his previous employer.

"My intentions are to complete the project," he said. "I told her it will be at my cost."

McCormick said he has failed to communicate with Chase and that is part of the problem.

"I apologize," said McCormick. "I will try to get it finished within the next 30 days."

Chase said she has learned an expensive lesson.

"You can't trust everyone and you should never pay that much money upfront," she said. "I don't want this to happen to anyone else."

First For You:

Before hiring a landscaper

A professional license is not required

Ask to see the plans and discuss the process, will it involve heavy equipment

Ask for proof of experience, work history, level of training

Ask for several references and check them out

Get details of work guaranty and plant warranties in writing.

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