Troubleshooter: Woman stumped by delay in tree removal

Diane Wilson Image
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Garner family in dispute with tree-removal service
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Cassetta Scott points to the trees she wanted cut down. She's still waiting, more than a month later.

GARNER (WTVD) -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, contractors and tree-removal companies were out in full force offering their services.

Three large trees in Cassetta Scott's yard toppled over in the storm and caused damage to the home next door.

"One fell right through the middle, one came around the bush and the one came in the back part of the home," Scott said.

The three trees that Cassetta Scott wanted cut down.

She wanted to prevent further problems, so she hired Michael Dale Williams of Delco Tree Service to cut down three tall trees in her yard that could potentially fall down during a strong storm.

"He claimed he was going to have to climb up the tree and then slowly cut down each layer," Scott said.

She agreed to pay $2,800 upfront and he told her he would get started right away.

Scott said she only paid him upfront as she was going out of town to help a family member and she wanted to make sure Williams could get started right away.

However, it wasn't that easy.

"He said three to four different times he was supposed to come out and he failed to show up," Scott said.

A few days turned into weeks and there was still no sign of Williams to do that job he was paid to do. Scott said Williams began ignoring her calls, so she caught up with him while he was giving a quote to another customer.

She recorded the confrontation with her cell phone. In the video Williams said, "We are going to get to your trees. I promise you."

He insisted he did not forget about her job and added, "We got you on the list to do your trees this week."

WATCH: Scott's confrontation with Williams

That week is long gone, and Scott is still waiting for her trees to come down. She has now taken matters into her own hands.

"I've decided to do free advertising to let individuals know he is not a trustworthy gentlemen or business owner to work with." Scott said.

Cassetta Scott's car magnet.

She's using a car magnet to warn others about the troubles she's faced with Williams as her trees still stand tall. Scott does not want Williams to do the job. Since it's been more than a month of broken promises, she just wants her $2,800 back.

I did get in touch with Williams. Through text messages, he said his first priority was the jobs where trees were on houses and water was getting in the homes. He explained to me that he can still do Scott's job, but if she wants her money back he is willing to do that.

He did not give a timetable of when he would return her money.

This isn't the first time I've had to get involved with a case involving Williams.

Back in 2012, Williams left a Goldsboro woman with a stump in her yard after signing a contract agreeing to remove it.


Hurricane Matthew left many scrambling for help, but it is important to know the facts about a company before hiring them to do any work. Here are some tips to ensure you're not getting ripped off:

  1. Research the company before paying any money.
  2. Never pay upfront.
  3. Always contact your insurance company before getting repairs done.
  4. Remember that FEMA does not certify, endorse, or approve contractors.

For more information and tips on how to avoid getting ripped off in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, click here.

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