• Report: #4444
Complaint Review:

Chem Lawn & ServiceMaster

  • Submitted: Wed, February 14, 2001
  • Updated: Fri, November 11, 2005

  • Reported By:Tempe Arizona
Chem Lawn & ServiceMaster
Nationwide U.S.A.

Chem Lawn & ServiceMaster RIP OFF

*Consumer Comment: No so

*Consumer Comment: All grasses confuse Chemlawn (Trugreen)

*Consumer Comment: chemlawn trying 2 rip me off

*Consumer Suggestion: Chem lawn located in Somerset Pennsylvania is full of liars and cheats.

*Consumer Comment: Crabgrass vs. Tall Fescue.

*Consumer Comment: Do some research next time before bashing a decent company

*UPDATE Employee: lack of knowledge

*Consumer Suggestion: I got rid of Chem Lawn too!

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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.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/14/2001 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/chem-lawn-servicemaster/nationwide/chem-lawn-servicemaster-rip-off-4444. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

No so

AUTHOR: Brian - (U.S.A.)

The orginal report stated that the lawn treatments hurt his lawn and encouraged grassy weeds to grow. Two rebuttals followed that disputed this but I believe were mistaken. First off Tall Fescue is not a bad grass, while it was once concidered a grassy weed it has been improved and is now one of the most popular of turf grasses. It is a cool season grass that does not benefit from summer fertilizer. However that summer fertilizer will encourage bermuda grass which is an undesireable warm season grass concidered to be a grassy weed when present in a tall fescue lawn.
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#2 Consumer Comment

All grasses confuse Chemlawn (Trugreen)

AUTHOR: Russ - (U.S.A.)

I have Bermuda, and my inlaws have St. Augustine. My inlaws said that Trugreen almost ruined their yard. Mine wasn't in the bst of shape, especially after the first spraying and the supposed 2nd one, if it actually happened. Luckily we got rid of this company quickly, and our yards were still salvagable. It doesn't matter what kind of grass you have, Chemlawn (Trugreen) (in my opinion) is too confused about lawns to help anyone's. And as stated, they DO NOT care about customer service !Everyone needs to email everyone in the email lists about these companies.
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#3 Consumer Comment

chemlawn trying 2 rip me off

AUTHOR: Raul - (U.S.A.)

Well I was outside my house one day when a chemlawn sales person came towards me and asked if if i wanted some work done ...he talked me in to it..not sure how many applications he tried 2 get for 2 aerarates I explained to him that i had one aerate done in the spring already so i only needed one for the fall anyways time passed i got my first application done they did it in the rain one hour later it poured heavy rain.

I was upset i called them telling them that my neighbor told me that that wasnt right since i am not familiar with landscape they told me it was ok that rain helps it go down in to the roots.

A couple weeks later I got home and there it was they aerated my lawn i was really upset called them 2 days later i explained to them wahat happend they said they were sorry canceled my account with them thinking it was over with them I was wrong they want to get paid for that aerate I called them back told them i wasnt going to pay them for work i didnt agree upon theatned to turn it over to collections.

I asked for the sales person that i made the deal with infront of my house with they responded with saying he has nothing to do with that.I dont know what to do it is only $67.00 but I dont want to pay because it is wrong for them to do this to me or any other person.If anybody can give me some advice I will be happy to hear from you.all I want is justice...... thanks
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Chem lawn located in Somerset Pennsylvania is full of liars and cheats.

AUTHOR: Louis - (U.S.A.)

I work for a local lawn care company who has triple the amount of business that chem lawn does in my area. Lately chem lawns sales men have been making up lies to our costumers. one guy told me the other day when I was spraying LR1 down that he was told my a chem lawn sales men named Jamie that his company bought out our company. Another guy said to me that chem lawns does 4 treatments while we only do 3 and they charge less then us.

True they do 4 but one of those is just water, we do 4-6 treatments depending on liming or airation.

Chem lawn located in Somerset Pennsylvania is full of liars and cheats. they cants compete with us, every costumer we lost to them last year has canceled them an recalled us. Why because chem lawn has solictors that will make up anything so they can get the sales.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Crabgrass vs. Tall Fescue.

AUTHOR: Jim - ()

Let me make a few points. First, Tall Fescue is the pest grass and is many times confused with Crabgrass. A nice grass would be Kentucky Bluegrass. Crabgrass will not grow until june and is much more likely to occur where you edge along the sidewalk, driveway, etc.

Secondly, just because you had a bad experience with a particular company, especially one as large as TruGreen, it certainly does not make the company bad. You must acknowledge that no company can grow to this size by simply ripping everyone off.

Also, the rate and chemicals used are CLEARY written on your invoice all of the time. This is standard prodecure thanks to the Dept. of Agriculture and the DOA is always looking to dish out a fine.

There are actually 7 monthly applications that run through september. If you got talked into something you didn't want from the begginging, please come to my used car dealership, she's a bit rusty, but she runs like a bueaty.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Do some research next time before bashing a decent company

AUTHOR: carl - ()

first of all TruGreen ChemLawn isn't a franchise business so right off the bat i knew you didn't know what you were talking about. then, none of the statements you made about lawn care made any sense. you say the fertilizer only stimulated the bermuda grass. how can this be? it was put on the whole lawn right? fertilizer isnt selective.

also there is no point in putting down a pre-emergent 10 days apart. the first one will still be effective up to 30 days. thats why trugreen chemlawn puts down 2 pre-emergents about 30 days apart i believe.

if you had more crabgrass then when you didnt treat it at all you probably are mowing incorrectly or in your case you probably didnt know what crabgrass was until trugreen chemlawn told you.

i use trugreen chemlawn because they know what they are doing and have been in the business for about 30 years. i dont think they need your business anyways. good luck treating your lawn by yourself.
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#7 UPDATE Employee

lack of knowledge

AUTHOR: jack - ()

First off chemlawn is not franchise owned. With internet access this should be quite a simple feat to figure out on your own.

second, fertilizing in the fall time is a great idea as long as your using a winterizer. If your program was set up right accordingly with the problems your lawn possesed, then your treatments should have carried on well through november.

third, most over the counter herbicides only have an immediate effect or up to a 15 day risidual. Wheras chemlawns products ordinarily have a 30 day risidual. With starting in march depending on the temperature it may have been difficult to obtain a whole lot of results. Herbicides and hot weather don't seem to mix very well. Our bag of fairy dust must have ran out on your property, my sincerist appologies, but if you would have stayed with us through the fall time, I feel very certain your problems would have been irradicated.

Next, fertilizer stimulates everything to grow so depending on the state your property was in prior to treating would greatly effect the outcome your seeing now. No-one can make a damaged lawn come back right away. It wasn't damaged overnight, equally it will not come back over night. This is a process not an event. With your help and ours, yes I said yours to, proper watering and mowing your problems can be cured.

Next, what do you mean only treated half the property where you actually present to make such an alligation. Probably not, you and I myself being consumers want our money worth. I would have chased down that technician and made him do the job he was paid for, or requested a service call to be completed. And speaking to a manager if this actually ever happened would have knipped that problem in the bub right off the bat.

Next, with a service call request due to rain, I would ordinarily let a customer know to wait a week or too in order not to double app a property. Which might not be the best thing if the property absorbed most of the product that was put down. Some things rather you understand them or not are probably in your best interest.

Next, all product and product rates of applications are cleary hand written on every invoice left at your property. Even code identification is there for those truly interested. All branches keep inventory sheets on hand, I personally have had to fax copies to my customers who have requested them, do to there concernes with certain products on their property. If this was in fact a problem i hope the branch manager reads this and gets that problem resolved.

last our guarantee as printed. TruGreen ChemLawn is committed to providing the highest quality lawn care service possible. If you are not totally satisfied with the results from our RECOMMENDED service, TruGreen ChemLawn will continue working with you until you are satisfied or refund the amount of your last application. You did infact agree to our no contract service. But we did recommend a number of apps to be performed. Wich you did agree to. You said yourself you did'nt complete the program. As minor as that may be try and understand what your reading next time. It is written this way for the lamen. People who try to always get things for free really anoy me. Thank you for your time.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

I got rid of Chem Lawn too!

AUTHOR: Howard - (U.S.A.)

After checking with not only with the Landscape Maintenance Company that I hired for a company that I worked for, and with the County Agriculture Department, I got rid of Chem Lawn. Found out that you need only to fertilize your lawn three times a year. In addition, you must aerarate (punch holes into) the lawn once a year. If it has not been done then the first year you aeratate, you do it twice, once in the spring and once in the fall. After that once a year. It is a matter of preferance of doing it in the spring or fall. Do not rack up the earth plugs, leave them. Also do not power rake the lawn. It will cause even more problems.

It took a year to get the lawn at the company looking great, but it was worth the effort and wait. And you save a lot of money to boot.

When you fertilize use a long term fertilizer. Chem Lawn doesn't, that is why they do it 6 times a year.

Use a separate weed killer too.

All Chem Lawn products will do is make the roots of the grass to be short rather than long. One word of advise, if you are not in good shape do not use the equipment hire a professional. It is heavy, powerful and dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.
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