A few weeks ago a group of guys knocked on my door offering landscaping services. They handed me a nice looking business card and, after reviewing their services, decided to hire them to remove some old firewood and brush from my property. It was already stacked and ready to go. We settled on a price of $200.00. They asked permission to drive their truck through the grass to make it easier to load. No problem. The driver used a ground guide to make sure he didn't run over any plants. They also showed me the license and insurance they carried. So, overall, I was pretty impressed. They went to work.
Meanwhile, my neighbor, Bob, comes over and the guy who seemed to be in charge gave him an estimate of $150.00 to do some work for him. By the time Bob and I had written our checks the guys had filled the truck with my wood. The guy in charge said they were going to the dump and would be back for the rest.
Well, you guessed it! They never came back.
We notified the police of the scam, even though they didn't do anything criminal. But the police officer called them, and later received a call back from the owner. The owner then called Bob, apologized for his crew's screw up, and said he would personally return to finish the work for both of us.
Haven't seen or heard from him since. I did a litte research and here's what I know:
The owner is Brandon Smith, a convicted felon, who I believe lives in Springfield, Ohio. The crew was roaming around our neighborhood on the south side of Dayton. Brandon's sister, Brandi Smith, was the one to whom we made out the checks. The checks were cashed within an hour or two of us writing them. Brandi also lives in Springfield. I was also charged sales tax, so I reported them to the state revenue agency in charge of investigating tax fraud.
I think I have a strong case for small claims court, but won't pursue it because (a) I didn't get a copy of the written contract - which was actually written up; and (b) the amount of money I'm out isn't enough to justify pissing off a felon. The dude knows where I live.
Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.