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La Vernia family warns of ‘scam’; police offer tips

 

Residents in the La Vernia area should be vigilant about a tree-service company that approaches the elderly, offering tree-trimming and other lawn-care services.

The son of an elderly couple in a La Vernia subdivision contacted the La Vernia News to warn residents about an individual driving a black Tahoe who offers arborist work and other lawn-care services with no contract, while charging exorbitant prices.

For trimming four branches of shrubs, the “arborist” charged the couple $200 in labor, and they were further charged more than $6,000, the son said.

According to the son, who asked that the family not be identified:

•The individual asked the couple to make the checks payable to him, not the company

•No written agreement was signed

•No itemized invoice was given for material purchased to do the work.

The individual was given four different checks -- for material and labor -- and only trimmed four branches and moved a few lava rocks out of the couple’s flowerbed.

The son said the only way to recover any of the money is via a civil suit.

Sgt. Danny Pitts with the La Vernia Police Department said no report was filed with the police department as of May 12, and they’d had no other reports about this arborist.

Pitts offered the following advice to avoid being scammed:

•Businesses in La Vernia are required to register with the city for a solicitor’s permit. Make sure it is registered before you do business.

•Call the La Vernia City Hall at 830-779-4541 to get information about the service or business.

•Do research and take your time before signing any agreement or contract.

If you think you are the victim of a scam, file a report with your local law-enforcement agency. You can also file a complaint by calling the Consumer Complaint Hotline at 800-252-8011 or online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

 
 
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