Columbus man believes he was swindled out of $1,600 in pine straw service

Columbus man believes he was swindled out of $1,600 in pine straw service

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Have you ever heard the phrase buyer beware? Well, you may want to keep it in mind this summer as companies offer their services for home or yard improvements. One local man’s story is a stark reminder to do your research.

Columbus homeowner Ron Hamby says $4.00 for a bale of pine straw sounded like a good deal until the final total reached $1,600. Now, he wants to share his story so that it won’t happen to you.

Hamby tells the story of when the pine straw salesman came to his home recently. “They just rang my doorbell," Hamby says. "I went to the door. The guy was there, he seemed real nice. And he told me he would put down pine straw, pull weeds and put it down for $4.00 per bale. I thought that was an excellent price, particularly if he was going to pull weeds.”

Hamby says he has put down pine straw himself every year, roughly 100 bales between the front and back yard. However, when someone offered to do it for him - cheap - he gave the go ahead.

“But he kept pushing, saying it was 400 bales," Hamby says, "he wouldn’t take anything less. So I did a real stupid thing and I wrote him a check for $1600.00.”

A local garden store says 400 bales is the amount of pine straw they get in deliveries, way more than what would be needed in a normal yard. They say a normal yard would take maybe 50 bales.

Hamby isn’t the only one wanting to warns others of situations like this. Police say if something like this happens to you, make it known.

“I would advise you to get as much information as possible," Sgt. Donald Bush says. "Call the police department, let us investigate on that end, at least make a report, initial report. Of course, call the BBB and also notify your neighbors because usually the people in the neighborhood say that wasn’t the first stop.”

News Leader 9 did reach out to the people who laid the pine straw in Hamby’s yard and have not heard back from them.

“Most likely you’re not going to get your money back," Better Business Bureau’s Mallory Vergara warns. "Most likely it’s going to be a lesson learned. "

However, the BBB reports that they do have tools to help combat local scams. To file a report or check the validity of a local business please visit the BBB website.

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