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[ATG] Indy tree trimming company accused of ripping off a senior faces lawsuit
Start Date: 9/5/2013 All Day
End Date: 9/5/2013
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indy-based tree service company is accused of taking $7,500 from a 93-year-old homeowner and then providing “minimal and faulty” work.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office filed a lawsuit in Marion County against Steve Spaulding and his company, Spaulding’s Tree Experts. Zoeller said his office used the newly enacted Senior Consumer Protection Act to help bring the lawsuit, which stiffens civil penalties against those found guilty of financially exploiting Hoosiers 60 years old or older.

“Indiana’s new statute closed a loophole to address the situation where a senior was intimidated or coerced into turning over their property or paying for a service,” Zoeller said. “This lawsuit is an example of why our state law needed to be strengthened and how seniors are often targeted because of their vulnerability and financial resources.”

In July, the consumer and his daughter declined tree trimming services from the company after being solicited at their home. According to the complaint, the company returned to the home six days later and convinced the homeowner, who suffers from dementia, to enter into a $6,000 contract. 

The homeowner wrote two checks toward the total, but the company later returned and said the checks were written incorrectly. According to the filing, Spaulding’s Tree Experts then convinced the homeowner to enter into two new contracts totaling $9,500, however the new contracts were for the same services as the initial contract.

Ultimately, the company was paid $7,500 and “proceeded to trim a few branches off some trees” and used “incorrect methods and materials.” According to the complaint, the company filled a cavity in one of the trees with spray insulation foam and covered the area with black spray paint.

Spaulding’s Tree Experts is accused of violating the Senior Consumer Protection Act, Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, Home Improvements Contract Act and the Home Solicitation Sales Act.

Any consumers who contracted with the company and didn’t receive the promised services are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office by visiting www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-317-232-6330. For more information about what a home improvement contract should include, how to find a contractor and when to be skeptical of door-to-door solicitors visit www.IndianaConsumer.com.

Zoeller thanked Deputy Attorney General Mark Snodgrass for his work on the case and dedication to the Consumer Protection Division.

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168
Email: Erin.Reece@atg.in.gov
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Attachments For This Entry:
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • About Indiana
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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