5 On Your Side

Tree trimmer cashes check, doesn't deliver

Posted May 16, 2012

— A Wake County couple just wants their money back for tree work that never happened. 

They called 5 On Your Side for help, and we found the tree trimmer, Glenn Derrek Anderson, has years of unhappy customers who paid their deposits and never saw anything in return.

Suzanne Stephens and her husband hired Anderson to take down two trees from their property in Apex. Anderson knocked on the couple's door in March, after doing some work for a neighbor. "An offer we couldn't refuse," said Stephens. "A very low-end offer, and so we thought, 'wow! Okay, we'll do this.'" 

Anderson agreed to remove the trees for $750.

"We should have had a red flag right there because that is pretty cheap," said Stephens.

"But everybody's trying to make their money stretch, so we went for it."

Glenn Derrek Anderson Tree trimmer cashes check, doesn't deliver

He required a $200.00 deposit. Stephens wrote him a check. "The check was cashed the next day," said Stephens.

When he didn't show up to do the job as scheduled, Stephens called. She says Anderson claimed he was out of town and had a sick nephew. He came the following week.

"He showed up at 4:45 in the afternoon to start a job like this," said Stephens. "Started up the tree, and said that his spikes needed sharpening and that he wouldn't be able to do it."

He came back the next day, but soon after needed to leave again. Stephens' husband asked him to return their deposit.

"He said he didn't have it with him," said Stephens. "But that he would bring it the next day." They haven't heard from him since.

5 On Your Side investigated and found out that Derrek Anderson has quite a criminal history. Over the last 17 years, he's been in and out of prison in at least two states including North Carolina. Among the long list of convictions; forgery, grand larceny and taking money from people but not doing promised work.

Anderson's company, Derrek Anderson Tree Service, also known as Creative Treescapes, has an F Rating with the Better Business Bureau because of customers who say they paid him hundreds of dollars in deposits for work that was never completed.

"$200 doesn't seem like a lot, but it is," said Stephens. She now wishes she hadn't paid Anderson any money up front. She also wishes she'd Googled his name and business to find out about his questionable background.

After driving to his home, 5 On Your Side finally got a hold of Anderson on the phone. He told us has been in and out of the hospital over the last several weeks and said, "I am not a scammer." He then promised to pay back the Stephenses as well as other customers he told us he owes. He said he's going do that within the week.

As for the Stephenses, they hired someone else to get the trees down.

An important reminder, if you're hiring anyone for work at your home, you have to do your homework! Do an internet search, get references and check them. That time will be well spent!


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  • general01 May 22, 2012

    Thank for chiming in "gstephen22". That's exacly what I thought would happen. The man is a crook and we'll never see our money again. He's done spent every dime so how can he pay it back?

  • gstephens22 May 21, 2012

    Just one more note to davidldesign. The only person to get something for nothing was Derek. He got $200 for doing no work.

  • gstephens22 May 21, 2012

    davidldesign Just so you know I contacted Derek the following day and was promised a certified check for the amount of the deposit to be delivered in person. Guess what, he never showed. So much for your comment. As far as getting something for nothing, he made the estimate and I agreed without trying to negotiate him down. By the way, did you pay any attention to the list of charges against him. And yes, I am very eager to report this to you.

  • southerntalent May 18, 2012

    The work u r talking about where contractors want a deposit is usually construction or improvements where they want to be paid for materials and possibly some labor upfront.I have never heard of a real tree service asking fr money upfront,u call some guy off craigslist for the cheapest job and see what you get.

  • southerntalent May 18, 2012

    Not one reputable tree trimmer has ever asked me for money upfront,not even after the tornados last year,even the one who just came into the area wanted to be paid after the work

  • general01 May 18, 2012

    People are asked for part of the money up front everyday for work being done. That's a lot of company's policy.

  • general01 May 18, 2012

    I did my homework (talked to a lawyer) and if he's convected, he pays the court cost. Also read "Scubagirl's" email below.

  • msncdso May 17, 2012

    Why would anyone ever pay for any kind of work until the job was completed?

  • beachboater May 17, 2012

    "those who want something for nothing are the hardest to please.I feel certain he will make this right and hope you all will be just as eager to report it." davidldesign

    In this case, they got nothing for something. Hard to please someone if you don't do the work.

  • superman May 17, 2012

    Do your homework-it costs about $150 to file a small claims court action. Even after you file the person is not likely to pay you anything and that is another $150 down the drain. Just chalk it up to experience and a lesson learned. If someone knocks on your door and proposes a deal that is too good to be true-jump on it-- write them a big check, give them all your cash.