Garner, N.C. — A local couple paid thousands of dollars for a new lawn, but the contractor walked off the job. The complaint to 5 On Your Side involves a local franchise owner of U.S. Lawns, Greg Hinson.
In May, Nile and Rebecca Calderon hired Hinson to install new sod at their Garner home. They gave Hinson a 50-percent deposit of $3,147.
Nile Calderon showed us pictures of what he got for that, a yard of rocky dirt. Calderon says Hinson sprayed weed killer, twice, tilled the yard and had two guys clean up natural areas in the backyard.
He says things went downhill the moment he flagged a few concerns. "They said they're ready to lay sod down," he told us. "This was not even close to a straight line."
Calderon says Hinson and U.S. Lawns also broke a large drainage pipe in the backyard and tried to add six feet to the natural area in their backyard, which they didn't want.
"At that point when I was showing him, 'Hey, is this going to be fixed?' He was already saying, 'You want me to just go now?'"
That was June 18.
Calderon says he repeatedly reached out to Hinson. "He was not interested in meeting face to face, he was not interested in talking to us over the phone, he was not interested in even emailing us," Calderon told us. "He just wanted us to just go away"
Then in late July, Calderon received a letter from an attorney saying he violated the contract with Hinson because his backyard gates were locked and the crew couldn't finish the job.
Calderon was dumbfounded.
"If he's saying he couldn't finish the job because the gates were locked, then how did he get his wheel barrows and equipment that was stored under my deck," Calderon asked.
And he wonders why the crew didn't at least lay sod in the front yard?
We emailed and called Greg Hinson before going to the addresses he lists for U.S. Lawns of Goldsboro.
The first was a mailbox at a Garner shipping store.
At the Clayton address he lists, we found his truck in the driveway and an open garage. 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte knocked, but only dogs came to the door.
Afterward, his wife, Ann Hinson, called to say their attorney told them not to talk about the case.
We also contacted U.S. Lawns corporate offices in Orlando, Florida. Marketing Manager Carol Beeler told us all U.S. Lawns offices are independently owned and operated. She says they cannot "force" Greg Hinson to respond in a particular way.
She did point out that U.S. Lawns is a commercial landscape management company and that franchisees are not supposed to provide any residential work.
The Calderons have since paid another landscaper $5,300 dollars to finish the job.
They'd like their $3,147 deposit back, but at the very least, want others to know about their experience with Greg Hinson and U.S. Lawns.
"We don't want this to happen to another family," Calderon told us. "Not just the money, but a lot of aggravation just to get it done."