Tree service company responds to On Your Side Investigation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- We have an update to an On Your Side Investigation.

You might recall on Tuesday we told you about neighbors outside Rogersville who say they were ripped off by same tree service company at the same time.

In mid-April, combined, they paid Joseph Jones with Joseph's Tree Service more than $10,000 and the jobs are not done.

Jones claims it was all a big misunderstanding. He says he normally documents jobs, but he didn't this time.

"When I was over there I didn't have nothing on me at that time because I was across the street working. I had no paperwork or anything on me," he said.

At each property, homeowners say he didn't pickup limbs, left a mess and he never returned their calls. He says he was instructed to leave wood for camping at one home. Those homeowners say he was supposed to do a lot more than that.

Jones says he didn't know there was a problem until On Your Side called him.

"If I got a phone call from them, I must have been in the middle of something. I had something going on and I forgot. Yes, I should have cleaned it up and I didn't at first but I do apologize for that," he said.

His business cards read licensed and insured, but as On Your Side discovered, he's not.

"I was in the middle of getting that done and with the COVID-19 thing happened. I tried to contact them and they said I couldn't get that done until everything opened back up," he said.

On Your Side emailed city officials. They say the office is fully staffed and they've been processing and issuing licenses daily.

Jones also doesn't have an International Society of Arboriculture certification. His business card reads he's a certified arborist.

"What happened was I've paid those to get made. Those ended up getting made with that on there. I didn't put that on there," he said.

Jones says he took related classes at MSU, but didn't finish. Folks with the Home Builders Association say don't hire someone for tree work without the proper credentials.

"A print shop is not going to put something on a business card that you don't request to be on there.Typically when they're a certified arborist they'll give you their ISA number on the card. They're very proud of that. They've worked hard to achieve it," said Charlyce Ruth with the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.

Ask for proof of insurance. Just because the business card says, it doesn't make it true.

"There are so many things that could go wrong. That chainsaw could jump. Tree limb or a tree could fall in the wrong direction. It's really easy to get hurt. If they don't have that insurance to protect you, the homeowner, you're going to be the one that's liable.

You might recall homeowners wrote checks to his father, Calvin Jones, not Joseph's Tree service. HBA says don't do that.

"By making a payment to an individual, the company can say they were never paid," she said.

Jones says he wants to make it right with these customers and will finish the jobs if they contact him.

"Only two people know the truth of what happened and that's me and the customer. I feel me and the customer are both in the wrong here," he said.

The Attorney General confirms to On Your Side they're looking into this situation.

This isn't the first time we've covered a tree service owned by a "Jones".

Since our story aired this week – we've received a number of complaints connecting Joseph with those same tree services. He denies he worked with any of those companies, but says those are his relatives.