7On your side: Tree cutters - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Tree cutters

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SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

It's expensive enough to hire someone to get rid of a tree you need taken down. But imagine the plight of a Sulphur woman who paid, but sadly, the tree is still standing.

In the case of this consumer, who is a senior citizen, she's so upset about what she's been through she asked us not to use her name.

She paid $450 to have a tree removed and all she got was a bunch of branches in her ditch and she had to pay someone else to haul those off.

The woman wanted the tree in her backyard chopped down because the hanging branches were on her roof and she was afraid it would fall on her house. She hired a man from Texas who was in the neighborhood and had knocked on her door.

While the job was underway, Sulphur City inspectors checked and found the company was licensed in Texas, but not in Louisiana, and shut them down.

The senior citizen said the contractor left saying he'd be back after he got a license. Sadly, he accepted her $450 dollars on March 19 and never came back to finish the job.

Besides the fact that the tree is still in the back yard, she said she had to borrow $250 to have the branches hauled off by another contractor.

Carmen Million, president of the SWLA Better Business Bureau, said don't deal with those who solicit door-to-door. 

"First of all, there's a city ordinance and a parish ordinance that prohibits door-to-door solicitations. So, somebody's knocking on your door or they're stopping by your property and offering to do work, what they're doing is illegal," Million said.

Secondly, she said before choosing a contractor, get several bids and make sure whoever you hire has all the necessary licenses and permits.

"What we recommend is that consumers do their homework. They need to investigate the company and they also want to get more than one bid. The only way you know the bid you're getting is fair, is to get two or three bids. And then, of course, you want to make sure you have a contract in writing. The contract should say exactly what they're going to do and what they're going to charge you to do that work for and if we're talking about trimming trees or cutting down trees, you want to make sure the contract includes cleanup," Million said.

As well, she suggests making sure they have insurance and are bonded in case they accidentally cause any damage or injury. KPLC has tried to reach the Port Arthur tree service that was in Sulphur, but have not been successful.

For more on checking out a contractor before you decide to do business with them, click here.

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