Sharry Olson hired tree trimmers and got brush piles. Now she can hardly walk through the aftermath.
Olson hopes to build a pool. Tree trimmers were canvassing an east Springfield neighborhood. She says they took her money and left a huge mess.
"They left us with a disaster," she said.
Tree limbs cover her backyard.
"They were supposed to grind the stumps level so we could grow grass and mow over them. They just absolutely butchered to the point that we will have to take them down. We can't leave them looking like this," Olson said.
She says she hired C & J Tree Service on Jan. 5 to take down 10 trees.
"We felt like these are some guys who needed some work. We were going to do it anyway, so we thought we'll go ahead and do it now," she said.
She asked the right questions.
"I asked, 'Are you bonded? Do you have insurance?' They said, 'Yes, yes we do,'" Olson said.
She says they didn't provide proof. She paid $600 for the $1,000 project. The crew worked one day, then a chain apparently broke. She gave them more money and they haven't come back.
"We called them. They weren't home. They were never home. We left several messages. My husband finally got one of them on the phone. He said, 'You need to call my brother; he set this up.' We think it was the dad in the background that said, 'Just hang up on him.' We haven't heard back from them since," she said.
A reporter called C & J Tree Service and was told an employee would call back.
Experts say potential customers should always ask for proof of license, insurance, and a bond.
"It's very easy to answer yes to those questions. As the consumer, you need to be diligent to check those things out," said Judy Mills, executive director of the Better Business Bureau.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, C & J Tree Service hasn't called for comment.
Springfield's Finance Department shows C & J Tree Service's license is not valid. While the license was renewed for 2014, the company does not have a current certificate of insurance on file.
Experts say, if you hire a company, pay one third upfront, another third in the middle of the project, and then finish the payment when the project is complete.