5 On Your Side

Landscaper's Failed Promises Lead Couple to 5 On Your Side

Posted December 5, 2006 12:24 a.m. EST

— When someone is hired to spruce up a yard, one expects it to look better when it is done. But when a family wanted some trees taken down, they ended up with a big mess, including a 6-foot pile of mulch.

Last August, Kent and Dena Bloms hired Daniel Wooten, owner of Wooten Tree and Grading from Goldsboro, who had done prior work for several of their neighbors.

"He had all of his trucks here -- his wood chipper, everything and he did all the other three houses with no problem. They had no complaints," Dena Bloms said.

Things, however, did not go so smoothly for Bloms. Wooten was supposed to cut and clear all but the largest trees within the first 8 feet of the "natural area" of her yard. She paid $2,000 of the $2,400 price tag up front. Wooten cut a few trees, but he never came back to finish the job.

"We tried calling him, and he kept saying, 'I'll be there tomorrow.' He wouldn't show up and wouldn't answer his phone," she said.

Bloms said Wooten also left a pile of mulch in their front yard from the work he did at the other homes. Tired of waiting, Kent Bloms went ahead and spread the mulch and pushed the tree debris into the woods.

"It's so much work. It's just a big headache, and we're reminded of the $2,000 we've lost every time we come home," Dena Bloms said.

After months of broken promises, the Bloms called 5 On Your Side.

"To just avoid us altogether and not do anything is sickening" Bloms said.

When 5 On Your Side called Wooten, he first promised he would be there two days after 5 On Your Side's interview, but he never showed. Five On Your Side called again and again, giving him many opportunities to resolve it. He repeatedly promised but didn't follow through.

Bloms said if nothing else, she has learned a lot from this experience and hopes others will, too.

"I would definitely investigate more and definitely not give any money up front until they do the job. Then they can get paid. So big lesson learned," she said.

Wooten now says he will refund the Bloms' money by the end of this week. He says this time 5 On Your Side should believe him. This case is scheduled to go to criminal court Tuesday. It was heard in small claims court last month. Wooten didn't show, so Bloms won the case.