Malleable Musings

September 22, 2009

When things go wrong

Filed under: Life at home — Brendan @ 9:16 pm

For about the past month I’d been trying to get hold of a tree surgeon who’d been recommended to me.  Last weekend I could bear it no more and gave in and consulted Yellow Pages and found a bloke (I’ll call him Eddie) who came around later that day.

My wife and I discussed what we wanted doing with him – we wanted about four-six feet taken off the top of six conifers and have them cut back a little bit to take them off our deck and away from the kid’s playhouse.

He seemed to know what he was talking about and gave me a price I was happy with so he came back on Monday with a couple of lads to start work.

As I was leaving work on Monday I got a phone call from my distraught wife, “Eddie’s butchered the trees”.  I tried to reassure that it can’t be that bad and that trees grow back and then I set off home.

Within two minutes of landing at home I’d left a very strongly worded message on Eddie’s answaphone (one or two swear words were used).  Eddie phoned me back within five minutes explaining that he hadn’t managed to finish the job yet and had run in to a range of unanticipated problems. I remember saying to him “Eddie, look I’m sorry you’ve lost my trust I really don’t know whether I should let you back in my garden.”

However I did let Eddie back in the garden.  We met early this morning before I set off for work.  I put aside the fact that Eddies measurement of six feet off the top seemed to be at least double  mine and I ascertained from him that the several of the main trunks were dead and that there was unlikely to be any real re-growth for around three years.  I therefore asked him the question should we really not just chop the bloody trees down.

Therefore when I came home on Tuesday evening I found the sight below. 

We only wanted a few feet off the top

We only wanted a few feet off the top

It’s not really what we intended.  In addition I also found a broken deck, wrecked plants around the trees and damage to the new patio (scuffing and oil spillage).  I think there may also be damage to my neighbour’s garden.  Having spent two hours scrubbing the patio I think I’ve managed to get rid of the oil.  I’ve still got to pop around to the neighbour – he’s on holiday at the moment.  Whilst Eddie has promised that he’ll be around tomorrow to repair the deck and do a final bit of finishing off.

I can only assume that this was a job that has gone horribly wrong for Eddie and said so to him on the phone this evening after he’d said to me, “I don’t advertise, I rely on recommendations and goodwill so happy customers are really important to me.” 

Nothing Eddie can do is likely to ever make me feel I can recommend his services.  All he could possibly do at this stage is pacify me and probably more importantly pacify the wife.

However it did make me think about faith, trust and making apologies especially as this week I’ve had to make a couple of apologies and have had to take part in a couple of rather difficult conversations.



  1. Publishing the name of the firm concerned would do everyone on Leicester a favour. If it were me, I’d be looking at the Small Claims Court. Certainly talk to a solicitor.

    Comment by AJ Cann — September 23, 2009 @ 6:09 am

  2. Alan, he mainly works in Coventry & Birmingham.

    I haven’t ruled out legal proceedings but it is still too early.

    I’m also not sure about publishing the name of the firm. Still thinking about it. I think that the connected consumer who wails about bad service based on a single encounter is often one of the biggest abuses of social media!

    Comment by Brendan — September 23, 2009 @ 7:15 am

  3. Reasonable stance, but this is an exceptionally bad case, unless you’re suggesting he was just having a bad day?

    Comment by AJ Cann — September 23, 2009 @ 7:53 am

  4. Alan, I don’t know if he was having a bad day or not. My guess is that he didn’t do a proper inspection when he provided the initial quote and underestimated the difficulty involved in the job and possibly his team’s skill level.

    Incidentally, they repaired the deck very satisfactorily today.

    However my opinion of Eddie fell a little this evening after I tried to call him and he hung up on me (although to be absolutely fair neither of us were really listening to each other). The side note is he’s trying to claim tipping fees for removing the tree trunks. If he’d mentioned tipping fees on Tuesday morning I would have asked him to leave the logs where they were as I have a neighbour with a wood-burner – this would have also prevented my patio getting scraped.

    It’s really a case of emotion over logic and finances. Having talked it through with our neighbours, I think we might try to bring someone in else to cut down the three bare trees that Eddie left. My wife is just ashamed of the state of the garden and what the neighbours think. I guess we’d both just rather totally forget about Eddie’s Garden Services.

    The invoice and telephone call annoyed me sufficiently to add a poor review on their Google Local Business entry. However in going this far I had an ethical battle with myself, especially as it is currently the only review for the business.

    I have written to consumerdirect but more from the point of view of ensuring that I’m acting within the law in refusing to pay the tipping fee (we’ve already paid Eddie what he originally quoted) rather than taking legal action against Eddie.

    Comment by Brendan — September 23, 2009 @ 11:02 pm

  5. I got some excellent advice from consumerdirect today and on arriving home found a letter dated yesterday threatening legal action unless I pay his tipping charges by 1st October so I had to spend this evening writing a letter in response.

    Unfortunately this and my nephew coming over stopped me blogging about Martin Bean‘s take on the OU as a Global University.

    Comment by Brendan — September 25, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  6. So today I spent quite a bit of time tidying up the garden. In doing so I discovered additional damage to the drains on the wooden outhouse. My neighbour also pointed out the damage to our fence. The conversation I had with my neighbour was quite interesting as he described the way the work was carried out – the adjective he used most frequently was wild.

    Comment by Brendan — September 26, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  7. I’d just remembered your blog and decided to look back over the posts I’ve missed since I last visited.

    I can’t quite believe that the company you used have led you through such a terrible experience. It’s been a month since your last update so I’d be interested in hearing where you are now, unless of course it’ll have an impact on any legal proceedings you might be taking against the “company”.

    Comment by Rob — October 27, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  8. I haven’t heard anything from them since my letter – which is fine by me. Although I probably have a very good claim I have no intention of taking it through the courts, unless I have to.

    It has been interesting talking to some of the other people who have come around to quote for finishing the job off.

    Comment by Brendan — October 27, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

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