4 Investigates Alert: Avoiding landscaping scams | KOB 4

4 Investigates Alert: Avoiding landscaping scams

Colton Shone
Updated: February 14, 2020 08:19 AM
Created: February 14, 2020 07:32 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —  Let's face it – sometimes yard work is more than we can handle. One Albuquerque man tried to hire a professional, but ended up getting scammed.

Brian Hipple was working on his North Valley home when a man working down the street saw him and offered to help. Hipple said he came to an agreement with the man, Scott Connelly, the owner of Tree Works LLC. 


"He said to go ahead and start the front yard he would need half down, $250," Hipple said. "I usually don't like doing that but I said 'OK, if you could start this week. Let's go ahead and do it.' Sure enough he came that week and got everything down. So I went and paid him the total amount $500 for that." 

Hipple said the work was good, but months later he needed work done in his backyard. He said Connelly came over and they worked out a deal: $900 up front to get it done. However, it turned into a big mistake. 

"He promised he'd be there that afternoon, he'd go get his crew, come back, and start the work," Hipple said. "He didn't come back that day. Texted him, he didn't get back to me. He finally got back to me the next working and said he'd be there at 10 a.m. Well 10 a.m. came and went, he never did show up." 

Matthew Mora with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of New Mexico said Hipple isn't the only person to complain about Tree Works LLC. 

"People have been claiming that he's either starting projects, or not showing up for them and just taking the money up front," Mora said. 

He said that the BBB has been investigating the company for several months and want people to be careful about doing business with Tree Works LLC. According to their reports, about $4,000 has been lost to Tree Works, and that amount could be even higher with unreported cases.

"He wouldn't reply to them," Mora said. "He wouldn't answer phone, email, text or anything like that."

So KOB 4 tried to get ahold of Connelly – we went to his company's registered business address and got no answer. Colton Shone called multiple numbers for him until he finally answered but quickly hung up. 

Hipple is now out almost $1,000 and calls this experience a very expensive life lesson. 

"I'm a trusting person, I like to trust people," Hipple said. "But I think I'll do more due diligence. I'll check the business bureau, see if they've had other customers and what their experiences were with them." 

So how do you protest yourself?

  • Get everything in writing – all the way from the job needing to be done, to who will take over the clean-up process. 
  • Get 3 estimates from different companies. 
  • Contractors may have a fee to start the job, but make sure you've set up a detailed payment schedule. 

Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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