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How to know I am not being scammed.

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Posted by: from Longueuil
6/30/2012 at 12:25:55 AM

I own a home and have 2 tree stumps in the front yard that I wish to have removed. This is especially necessary now as our entire street is going to be re-done next summer and one if the stumps is near the water line.

Two days ago, and again today, this guy showed up out of no where, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, said his name was Patrick and he could remove both stumps for about 75 dollars. This of course, was also not in writing. He then handed my husband his company card.

This is what I am a alarmed about and need your advise on:

1. Is it proper protocol for tree service personel to drop by unannounced or invited door to door? Do peole not seek you out for your business?

2. Are tree service personel required to be in unifrom? Patrick came dressed as if he were going to a BBQ and he had his dog with him!

3. Most disturbing, besides the fact he came twice in a space of 3 days, the card he gave my husband had the comany name with no address with a phone number on the front. On the BACK of the card he wrote his name and number to be contacted on which does not correspond to the number on the front and coincidence or not both he and the comany owner are named patrick. This seems fishy and not at all professional, not to mention potentially complicated if an issue were to ensue regarding insurance!

4. The card also says fully insured which of course can mean absolutley nothing. At this point should I bother having this guy provide me all the necessary documentation, or perhaps even if he complies can not all this info also be doctored?

Please repy at your ealiest convenience.

Thank you

REPLIES (9)
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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 2:52:49 AM

You Don't know if your being scammed. Ask for real info, $75 for stump removeal is a deal. Never pay upfront.

Sounds as though he is a freelance salesmen. It is always best to hire a company someone you know has had a great experience with.

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Double J in Brantford
Date/Time6/30/2012 at 6:35:11 AM

This is the classic sign of a "fly by night" company.

1 - Make sure you always get an estimate done in writing.

2 - Check a company's references.

3 - Ask to see proof of insurance. Call the insurance company and ask them.

If the guy wants you to call his number on the back could mean that he is paid on comission. $75.00 dollars is cheap to remove a tree stump. For that price they are just going to grind the top down. The stump will still be there but only a couple of inches below grade. To have a stump removed you are looking at having someone come and dig it out. They will charge you by the hour usually.

Now grinding down is ok if you don't plan on doing anything in this area for years. Eventually the stum rots and then you have a minor landscape repair right in that area. Personally I would remove it then there is no more worries about it.

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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 7:49:03 AM

Petra,

Buyer beware. If your going to let this guy do this, you may put yourself in some situation. 75.00 sounds very cheap, and may work out great. As long as its all he does.

Afterwards he may have a very good deal on some new windows and doors, or concrete work

Or something else, If he does the job, and and build a relationship with you, he could move on to sell you more expensive work. And then will get you.

I knew one guy He would go get information on building materials, And everyday would walk down every street, trying to sell what ever he felt the people needed in their homes, New windows, new steps, new anything. He would build a relationship with his new customers, Then take a deposit to cover expenses,

The people would never see him again. Guy would make a killing, just ripping people off. Now this was just one guy I knew a long time ago.

Since then I have heard of a lot of crocks like that guy. Always best to go to the sorce if you need something. It's no different then buying a burger from some guy walking the street, then going to a rester ant. You get what you pay for.

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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 8:47:10 AM

Hi Petra,

Call a reputable tree removal compamy for an estimate as they will give you a detailed account of what will be done and how much it will cost. Get a couple of estimates. I wouldn't call the guy back but if you do, you will be able to compare his answers with the ones you get from the pros.

Better safe than sorry.

Brett

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Petra in Longueuil
Date/Time6/30/2012 at 9:17:21 AM

A general thank you for the help received so far. This morning I just found from my husband, that he signed who knows what, for this same Patrick guy to come today to do remove the stump!

I hope to God it was not a contract! No copy of it was given over to us. Can it be broken if it was? And legally if can we refuse him to do anything on the property until I have verifed his credentials.

Are we not supposed to get a written copy of the contract?

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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 9:25:00 AM

You don't feel comfortable hiring this guy, and rightfully so. Go with your gut feeling and you can never go wrong.

1. Companies that go door to door are scammers or slow and looking for more buisness. Most good ones don't.

2. Not all companies have uniforms, usually just the larger ones.

3. This does sound fishy, but he might just be on commission from the company.

4. For insurance, ask for the policy number and call the insurance company to see if it's still valid.

As I said before, you don't feel comfortable, so I would pass and seek out a reputable company to do your work. You will pay more than this guy, but it will be worth it.

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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 9:38:00 AM

Short answer ... If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No contact info usually means someone is doing the job "on the side". Patrick may know his stuff but he, also, may not. DON'T take the chance.

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Date/Time6/30/2012 at 1:51:37 PM

Petra,

Chances are, if your gut is really telling you its a scam, then it probably is. His business card should have all the required information on it, his name and number, web address, company name and logo, email etc. Perhaps he is just getting his feet wet and trying to start out freelancing before he puts his money into it. Maybe he's trying to see if it is going to be a business he really wants to get into. I feel for him if he is trying to start a business, it is hard and gaining clients trust is even harder. However, if he is testing the waters he needs to do it legitimately. It isn't easy but it is worth it. We are only coming to the end of our first fiscal year and there was nothing easy about stepping out on a limb but it was most definitely worth it to do it right.

If you feel that he may be legitimate but just going about it the wrong way, then ask him for all the necessary information and double check everything including the WCB and insurance etc. If it turns out that he does not have these things its probably a scam and you can always walk away before anything begins.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your project.

Thank you,

Sherri & Dustin Depatie

Seamless Finishing Inc.

Office : 780-760-3852

Sherri : 780-297-0986

Dustin : 780-885-2231

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Date/Time7/3/2012 at 9:29:25 AM

Even if your husband signed a contract, all jurisdiction have what is called a cooling off period where you can cancel without penalty or prejudice. In Ontario, for a contract not signed in the seller's place of business, the period is ten days.

I am concerned that if you have no legitimate way to contact this person, and (with documentation) cancel the contract, you could have a problem, but this is what you need to do.

Phil

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