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tree removal gone wrong


LawnSite Member
Hello, i'm new here and a homeowner who had a tree removed.

I called up this guy and asked about the removal, he says that he will do it. I asked if he had a bucket truck and ins. because of the phone, power, and cable lines... he said yes he did and to not worry.

He called me with a price and day. I said ok good,see you then.
Well he came a day early(no problem, I work from home) and with NO Bucket truck. I asked him where was the truck and he said the shop. I then said that I would rather wait untill he has the truck because of the lines.He said that he could do it without the bucket truck. I asked again about the ins. he said he had ins. and if anything happened they woulld cover any damage.

So he starts and guess what?? he landed a big branch on the lines :confused:

I called all the people to come out and put the lines back up. But when he took out the power line it caused a surge and burnt up my Ham radio and computer speakers.

He then said to get a estimate for everything and he would take care of it. well it came to $550.00.
He then called me back and said that his ins. would not cover surges,

I was pissed but understanding. I said that I would accept $250.00 and forget about it. He said that the most he would give me is $200.00 :eek:

I said well I can sue your for it and pay the lawyer fees ...wich is about the same cost.

Long story short:

I said what happened to me to a friend and she told me that he cut her two lawns. The Mansion on the hill and her sons house.
Together they were $ 250.00 a week. She called him up and cancelled him right their.

Now if he would have given up $50.00 more dollars I would not have said a word to anyone.

My question is was I wrong to say anything to anyone else or should he have honored the damage and fixed my radio and speakers??

Take care Erik


LawnSite Senior Member
Nashville Tn.
He said HE would cover any damage. I would hold him to it. He will now understand that a bad reputation is not a good thing to have. You negotiated in an appropriate manner .IMO


LawnSite Bronze Member
One thing to remember.Always ask to SEE proof of your contractors insurance.I always tell my customers that I'm insured and they can see a copy of my coverage if they'd like to.They all say,no that won't be necessary.Makes me wonder how many times folks have been hoodwinked by someone just saying they're insured.
I also have written references,but no one cares about those either.They just skim over them without really reading it.For all they know,I could have a chicken recipe on there.
ALWAYS ask for proof of insurance and please read it to see what coverage your contractor has.The reason I charge higher rates is because of things like insurance,licenses,taxes,etc.,,Those who charge the higher rates and don't pay taxes,have insurance,and aren't licensed really give all of us a bad name.
A licensed contractor will have no problem with you wanting to see proof of this.


LawnSite Member
Dallas, Ga
You handled that in a much more friendly manner than I would have and I envy your patience. It's usually a good idea to have his ins co fax over the proof of coverage. He definitely shouldn't have hesitated to pay the $50.00. Doesn't sound like he'll live too much longer anyway. That's too dangerous a business to be out there doing such a halfa** job


LawnSite Silver Member
Any moron that will take chances around live power lines deserves to get fried.

Critical Care

LawnSite Bronze Member
Central Oregon
Erik, I can sympathize with you. When you think about this, you can surely see why insurance companies don’t want to cover damages caused by power surges. Power surges could affect not just you, but also perhaps a whole block of people, or more. My personal opinion is that insurance companies have too much fine print and too many loopholes that allow them to get totally out of the picture.

The fault starts with the contractor, his work that led to the surge that in turn led to the ruin of your equipment. For this amount, I wouldn’t think that there would be any need of a lawyer, but you surely could file a claim in small claims court for damages. But, before you do…

Check with your state. In my state, landscape contractors have to be bonded. If this had happened out here you easily could have turned the matter over to landscape contractors’ board, and quite likely you would have received something – perhaps the full $550 - from the contractor’s bond.

And, retribution is a personal thing. It won’t pay for your repairs, but may at least make you feel better.

Good luck and 73's… de N6GC… and it sounds as if your fried ham rig fortunately wasn't one of the new $12,000 Icom IC-7800 hf toys.


LawnSite Senior Member
as a homeowner i wouldn't have accepted anything less than the full amount. as a lawn care company owner we would have insisted on you accepting $550 (we never would have even bothered with our insurance company) and possibly have paid for a real tree company to come out there and take your tree down.

what did the power company have to say? i know there are steep, steep fines for hitting underground lines.


LawnSite Member
Lee's Summit, MO
I think it's pretty steep above ground too. I would have demanded the full amount. I've worked for several tree companies and am insured and now do a lot on my own. For those of you who think the lawncare profession is overrun by "scrubs" who don't know what they're doing and give the rest of us a bad name - you should look at all the wannaba tree trimmers. There's a ton of them. As others have said, always demand a proof of their insurance, and keep a copy on hand so you can deal directly with the ins. company in the event of a problem. That said, don't be too quick to judge a trimmers ability or professionalism by whether or not he has a bucket truck. I've worked out of many of them, but here in the city there is a ton of residential work that doesn't really require one, or allow the use of one. There's still alot of us out there that actually can climb...

D Felix

LawnSite Bronze Member
For future referance, if the tree is within 10 feet of a power line (not service drop), most power companies will probably come out and remove the tree without cost to you. At a minimum, they should remove any limbs within that 10' range.

I believe ANSI and maybe OSHA (not sure about that though) states that any tree within 10' of power lines cannot be trimmed or worked in unless the person holds a line clearance certification.

Sounds like this was a case of someone trying to do something they shouldn't have.... Lucky no one was hurt or killed.