Customer accusations

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by upidstay, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,348

    Ran into a former customer of mine. Almost 20 years ago, he accused me of deliberately infecting his lawn with Red Thread in order to get more money out of him. He asked me if "My racket was still good" or something like that. I remember he was so mad when he fired at me, he was red in the face and spat as he talked. Unbelievable.

    Now, if I was going to deliberatley infect a lawn with a turf disease (not sure how I'd do it anyway) I sure as <censored> would not choose RED THREAD!!! I'd go for Pythium, so I could get a really $$ fungicide app out of him, then charge for the reseeding too. This guy is notorious around his town as a Grade-A whack-job, so I'm not that concerned.

    Ever been acused of anything crazy like that??
  2. jdmcat

    jdmcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 439

    I was ferting an apartment complex and a lady across the fence told me my weed killer leeched down and killed her tomato plants the last time I sprayed. I told her there was no way it would miss the junipers, barberries and all her flowers and target the tomatoes almost 30 feet from where I was spraying. She said "Don't give me that crap I was raised on a farm and I know how that stuff works." I told her maybe she was just a lousy gardener and kept on spraying.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,233

    Oh sure. Customer canceled and later I saw her as I was doing neighbors lawn. She said it had grubs and I didn't do anything about it in April. And that the local garden store had told her so, based on her description. Or maybe I burned it with crabgrass control. It was a pretty obvious case of Roundup vandalism, done with a hand sprayer. You could tell where the perp stood and that he was right handed--and where he ran out and just was spraying a little mist. She insisted that the problem was "growing".
    Another case a large number of tomato plants was burned brown just after we sprayed in late September. I was going to write her a credit memo when she mentioned that most of her neighbors should get compensation, too, Even the one 200 feet away. I realized it was frost damage--she got nothing.
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    When I was working for a "landscaper" many years ago, customer accused us of neglecting their lawn and allowing Take-All patch to run rampant. The patches were actually areas of nutgrass and kyllinga that the homeowner sprayed themselves with off label rates of RoundUp. RoundUp applied to warm season grasses kills off a much bigger area than that originally covered because of the translocation through stolons.

    My policy for customers is very simple: apply anything other than water to the lawn and I take that as a cancellation.
  5. thempikes

    thempikes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    I have had several nut cases over the years. Some just drunk but interestingly enough all of them were single. Seems they ran off the spouse too!
  6. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    I never encountered drunks. It is always a smart azz DIYer.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    After twenty years in this business I have encountered some real winners from drunks to outright whackjobs.
    My company used to maintain rent controlled apartment complexes which were actually quite nice. At one a drunk guy would badger the crew, stand on his porch and scream obscenities and once threw a whiskey bottle at one of the guys. Tried talking with the guy but he was way out there - and when I walked away he stepped off of his porch and landed on his face on a concrete sidewalk - over ten residents witnessed the whole thing - cops got involved and he got evicted.
    Drunk lady walks by, see's my truck door open and despite the Beware of Dog signs, slams the door shut and startles my dog - who begins barking. Lady runs to the office saying my dog "attacked" her - same cops show up (same apt complex) and she gets arrested/evicted.
    While maintaining an estate, a neighbor begins yelling at me that I "infected" his property with fireants. Seems the Friponil I applied displaced the ants onto his property - which was unprotected. I told him I couldn't help since I couldn't determine if the ants that showed up on his property were in fact from my client's. With a straight face I said since the ants didn't file a change of address form I couldn't tell where they were from.
    Now I have a very simple policy - any interference = cancellation.
    As far as the DIYers I won't even accept them as clients.
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    at least you guys can cancel your nut jobs.... my nut jobs call their mom and dad when i start up equipment in the morning while they are trying to sleep off a hangover...
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    I had a customer accuse me of damaging a sprinkler head with my mower that was a good 3 feet from the turf area in a tire tracks, no evidence it was me. He just wouldn't listen...I ended up giving him a credit for it...he had some spare heads in stock and repaired it himself. It wasn't worth loosing a customer over.

    The strangest complaint I've had I think was that I removed the acorns from a lady's lawn when I did her fall cleanup. She wanted me to leave them for the squirrels and deer, although she had never communicated that to me before hand. Since this was a "blow to woods" job, I informed her that the acorns were still there, just off in the edges in a more natural foraging habit for her critters, lol. I ended up dumping her the following season for wanting the lawn serviced too infrequently.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  10. clallen03

    clallen03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    I had a old lady tell me that I wasn't doing my job on her lawn because the HOA sent her a letter about weeds in the lawn. I explained to her that she had scotts contracted to do the treatments but if she wasn't happy we will be glad to take over. Then she stated the letter also said that the lawn wasn't being mowed and she was very upset with me for not mowing. That was strange because she always came talking and wasting my time for for at least 15 min each time I mowed.
    I asked to see the letter and it turned out to be a cookie cutter letter that everyone in the sud-division received just so they were aware of the community policies. Nothing was specific to her lawn. I explained that to her and she got upset with me. She said "Dont worry about what the letter says you just worry about what I say, cause Im paying you!" O-K.
    I end up dropping her about a month or two later when she start forgetting to pay and calling me at 11pm talking about her lawn looked like a corn field from the stripes.
    I think she seriously lost her mind. I felt sorry for her but just knew that it wasn't going to work out.

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