Action 9: Man frustrated after paying thousands for tree triming

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Myers Park man worried about a tree, for safety reasons.  He spent thousands to take it down, and thought he did everything right, but ended up frustrated.

Marshall Gilchrist noticed one of his trees was dead and dangerous. 

"We were worried about limbs falling on cars," he said. "If this thing falls, it's going to destroy someone's house."

He wanted the tree removed.  He got three quotes and hired a company a friend recommended, Hensley's Tree Service, for $2,700.  Hensley's came out, and trimmed branch after branch, but left the roughly 30-foot tall trunk.  Gilchrsit complained to Hensley's, but it didn't help. 

"That's why we called y'all," he said.

Action 9 contacted Henlsey's.  The owner said he told Gilchrist at the beginning, he'd cut the branches off, but that it would cost more to take down the trunk.  It's a misunderstanding the Better Business Bureau has heard before:

BBB president Tom Bartholomy:  "You have to specify exactly what that means, that you're going to take this trunk, too."

Action 9:  "It sounds obvious, you say, 'Take the tree down,' you think that means no more tree, but you should be more specific than that."

Bartholomy:  "Exactly."

He said see if the work covers the limbs, trunk, stump, and removal.  And get it in writing.

Gilchrist is in real estate.  He lines up contractors all the time.

When asked, "You're in the business, you're used to property management, you're used to home issues.  Do you somehow shake your head thinking, 'If I can't do it, how does anybody?'" he said, "I really wonder."

He thought he did everything right, until he looks up at the trunk.

Make sure the company you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured.  You may want a tree service that also has a certified arborist.  Don't pay the full amount up front.  Make sure both sides know exactly what the finished product should look like.