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Metro lawncare customers get locked in billing battle for unordered services

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gloria Davis admits her yard was once an eyesore and that’s why she hired Green Grass Lawn and Sprinklers to.

“I didn't have grass on the southside of the lawn,” Davis said. “It was pretty bad.”

Eric Williams, the owner of Green Grass Lawn and Sprinklers, assured her that was a problem he could solve. And he almost did.

“By mid-end of September I had grass,” Davis said. “It was beautiful.”

Davis, a middle school teacher, was so thrilled she started talking to Williams about doing landscaping on her side and backyard.

“He sent a proposal, but that was like $6,000 and that was way out of the question,” Davis said. “So then he came back with one for $1,500, which was still out of the question for me.”

That’s why Davis was so surprised a few weeks later when she saw men digging large holes in the yard of her Kansas City home.

“They said they were from Green Grass Lawn and they were sent out to do landscaping,” Davis said she was told. “I said `no I don't have any landscape contract with anybody.’"

But owner Williams insisted they had a verbal contract.

“I said we never had a contract,” Davis said. “I can't pay for this.”

At her insistence, the men filled the holes back in, put seed down and left. She thought that was the end of the dispute until a few weeks later she received a bill for more than $1,400 for landscaping and yard care.

She wrote back she didn’t owe Green Grass Lawn and Sprinklers a dime. Then this month, David received a letter from an attorney demanding payment for the lawn care company.

This isn’t the first time Green Grass Lawn and Sprinklers has had a customer upset over billing. The Better Business Bureau’s website has multiple complaints listed. The BBB, however, still gave the company an "A" rating.

Among those upset with the lawn care company is Janet McLain. In 2009 she hired Green Grass Lawn and Sprinklers to improve the yard in a home she was about to sell.

She paid the company what she said was the agreed upon price of $1,500. But weeks later, Williams filed a $6,500 lien against her home.

“I was selling the house and I would never have invested that much in landscaping,” McLain said.

Because there was no contract, it became McLain’s word against the owner’s. McLain agreed to pay an additional $800 to settle the dispute and remove the lien.

“I have been very careful with my dealings going forward after that,” said McLain, who never does business now without a signed contract.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers spoke with owner Williams who said he runs an honest business and has lots of satisfied customers. But he agreed he needs to be more clear about his billing system and has made changes to that system in recent months.

He acknowledged to FOX 4 that he had no written contract with Gloria Davis for landscaping. Because of that he was willing to knock about $1,000 off her bill.

But he said Davis still must pay him for the $419 in yard services he continued to provide for her under a separate written agreement. Davis insisted that no additional work had been provided under that agreement, which she thought ended in October. However, the contract states it is in effect for one-year and can only be cancelled via certified letter or email. That’s something Davis failed to do.

Owner Williams said it’s important to him that all his customers are happy – something Davis definitely isn’t.

“I feel like I'm being bullied,” she said.

Williams said he wants to meet with Davis in person this week to try and resolve this dispute. So for now this is a Problem Solvers in the works. Stay tuned.