Apex, N.C. — 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."
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!