LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Beware if you get a knock on the door and it's a contractor soliciting work. You need to know exactly what they can do, and what you're paying for. One couple says they're out more than $1,000.
The Wrights initially thought they would have to take the owner of R. L. Shifflett Tree and Landscaping to court to get their money back. They say the nightmare began in May when a worker walked in their yard and asked if they needed any tree work done. Lynn Wright says the worker pulled up in an R. L. Shifflett truck soliciting a job. She wasn't interested in tree cutting but wanted her garage fixed. The siding was coming apart. The structure needed a lot of work.
"He said, 'Oh, ma'am, I can do that for you,'" she said.
She hired a tree cutter soliciting work to do a home improvement type job. Initially she wasn't worried. "He seemed like he knew everything. I wish they had never dropped by," she said.
Raymond Peyton signed the contract with Shifflett Tree and Landscaping letterhead. Peyton says he got a new job and doesn't work for Shifflett anymore. He said Shifflett was going out to the Wrights today to do the work.
Lynn and her husband Allen have been waiting since May so they were skeptical. "I think I deserve my money back because things have changed with six months of rains," she said. "The wood started getting worse. It's started to rot with the rains."
Never let your payments get ahead of the work. Check copies show Lynn paid $900 when she signed the contract and another $700. $1,600 within a month, for what Lynn says was very little work. "I did it. It was horrible. I just regretted it. He came one more day and just ripped stuff off and just left. The last time I saw him working was June 23," she said.
The couple says R.L. Shifflett has promised several times to come out, but he always has an excuse and never shows up.
If you hire a door-to-door solicitor, check out the company first. Tree service workers are not required to have a license. R.L. Shifflett and a crew showed up at the Wrights' home unannounced today, after my phone conversation with that former worker, just last night.
Our Special Projects Producer rode out to there again to get Shifflett's side of the story. He says sometimes people take his truck and work independently.