This complaint is from direct personal experience. Chem Lawn is a nationwide lawn service company they also trade under the name of Tru Green and are part of a larger company named ServiceMaster. Each local company, I believe, is a franchised operation.
Anyway, I was "talked into" using their service by one of their telephone solictors for a 6 treatment per year service. I assumed that this service would include the basic "SOD" treatment of fertilizing in September, October & December, which is the absolute minimum to maintain healthy lawns. SOD is not my own theory, but is the recommendation from the Dept. of Agriculture.
Anyway, their service was 6 treatments of fertilizer starting in March and ending in August. According to the county agriculture agent, all this does is make the grass leaves grow even faster and require you to water the grass in times when they are under a lot of stress from the heat of summer and do not need fertilization. Along with these, fertilizations were included somesort of pre-emergence weed control in the spring (for crabgrass), broadleaf herbicides in the early summer (for dandelions, etc.) and insecticides if they deemed it necessary.
Well, the pre-emergence did not work because I had more crabgrass than I've had for at least the previous 5 years. When they wer told to apply crabgrass killer, they applied only one treatment which did not work. Crabgrass killer must have 2 applications 10 days apart. Pre-emergence weed control must be applied in 2 applications within a narrow time frame in the mid and late spring. They only applied once. All they fertilizer did was put my good grass (tall fescue) under stress, because it caused it to need much water to survive during the period of the year when it would normally be adjusting to the high heat of summer and a lower water situation.
What the fertilizer did do was stimulate the Burmuda grass (a pest grass), which I had been trying over many years to eradicate, to grow uncontrolably and spread from just one small area that I had been able to contain it to, to reinfest 40% to 60% of my back yard and 30% of my front yard. I now have large bare spots where this Bermuda grass has gone dormant over the winter.
Another problem is that they would try to get by with only treating the front yard when the entire yard area, front, back & sides should've been treated. Whenever it rained heavy enough to wash away a treatment the same day or day adjacent to application. they were supposed to come out and reapply the treatment, but I would have to contiuously cll and write to get a proper response.
They claimed to have done an analysis of my yard, but I never received it. I asked them to supply me with information about the chemical they were applying including chenmical and trade names and rate of actual applications, but they never responded. So, after the 5th treatment, I suspended treatment until they could provide those answeres. They never got back to me.
According to their printed guarantee, if the customer was dissatisfied and the problem could not be resolved they would refund the last payment. They never did make that refund or any further response. I am in the process of filling a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau and probalbly with the Dept. of Agriculture.