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Is this price gouging?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Uncle, May 22, 2013.

  1. Uncle

    Uncle Member

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    Jersey Shore
    Hi everyone

    Last year before superstorm Sandy I got a price quote to have a dozen trees removed and some other clean up work for bushes and small brances. The price was $3,000.00.

    The storm knocked down one of the trees onto my neighbores side and his insurance covered it. I decided to keep one of the other tree's and I removed the bushes and brush myself when they offered to take anything after the storm.

    Fast forward to about a month ago. I had the same guy come over to give me an estimate. He told me even though there is less work prices have gone up for gas and to get rid of the wood. He told me the price would be $4,500.00. He then told me if I was willing to wait until December he would give me a "winter rate" for $3,500. I was OK with that. I never got the estimate in writing because I was going to wait it out.

    A few weeks ago I noticed a large crack on one of the trees and the tree is in striking distance of my house and worse case scenario my oil tank!!. So I called the same company out. Another guy comes over and I told him about the crack and go over all the work. He gives me a price quote of $8,000.00. I told him about the other guys quote and he said the other guy did not remember coming here a month ago. I called the office and spoke to the secratery and she told me she would get back to me.

    What do you think? Can a company go from $3,000 to $8,000 in one year? What can be done if anything?

    I am in the process of getting other quotes now.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What can be done is get somebody else to whack the trees.
  3. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    You really have to shop around. Angie's list was great at finding cost effective ones. My quotes for 8 trees was 1300 to 6000. The 1300 dollar company did a great job and broke each tree down with a time estimate and cost so I'd could prioritize if needed. Mind you, my only criteria was to get them on the ground and I would handle the rest. Most of the trees couldn't be accessed with a truck and required climbing.
  4. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Time for a different, more honest company.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  5. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    It's springtime. The owner of the company wants a new boat. Wadda ya expect?
  6. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    when ya dont want the job, you quote it high! maybe he thinks its risky
    heat seeker likes this.
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm confused, who would want to do this? :oops: ;lol

    While gas prices do increase over time, it's been a long time indeed since gas was $1.37/gal. (If gas is roughly $3.65 now @ $8000, then based upon the original quote of $3000 gas should have been $1.37 at the time assuming that's the expense he's basing the quote on. I'm guessing it wasn't. ;))

    Agreed that you need to find a different tree man.
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Anybody can quote any price they want. You weren't really going to spend that much coin without having two or more quotes, were you?
  9. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    I've gotten quotes in excess of 1800.00 for one tree removal. Shopped around and got it done for 400 cash
  10. Uncle

    Uncle Member

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    I was just PO'd that after I told him I was concerned about the crack in the tree the price jumped up $4,000 in one month!!...Thats price gouging in my book. I remember hearing after Sandy you could not raise your prices more that 10%. I just found out thats only for 30 days.

    Some of these tree guys are so busy around here one guy told me the soonest he could get here is August.

    I did just find another guy to do the job for $4,500 so I'm happy.

    The only question I have now is should I call the owner of the first company and tell him whats going on? I know if I had a business I would want to know my employees were doing.
  11. Uncle

    Uncle Member

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    DSC01239.JPG Remember that Crack I was worried about...........Looks like I don't have to worry anymore. It came down about an hour ago. Just called he insurance company. Just missed the chimney. My tree guy is coming over first thing in the morning. Looks like the roof has some damage.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Eeekk!
  13. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Wow, you are REALLY lucky.....that could have been MUCH worse. Seeing how that tree is hollow, now would be a great time for you to get a good arborist in there to inspect those trees around your home. When I say a good arborist, I mean one that knows what to look for in terms of tree health and the like.

    I'd recommend a good arborist to ANYONE who has old growth trees in their yard that are in close proximity to their house.

    Glad you and your family are all OK. The roof is repairable. A lost life is not....
    Uncle and semipro like this.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sad with the pricing but unless there is competition, they can pretty much quote whatever they want. For sure get several quotes when you are talking that much money.
  15. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    Prices are all over the place when it comes to tree work. My advice to you is to first find a CERTIFIED Arborist and have them to an evaluation of your trees. Second make sure whoever you use is fully insured, ask to see their proof of insurance. If they try to pass it off it is a huge red flag.
    Remember that there is always going to be someone that will do the job cheaper, but cheap is not always what you want.
  16. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    That's not price gouging, that's supply and demand. He might be very busy and having to pay people or work overtime to do the work.Remember the season you are in and springtime is usually a very busy time for tree service people. My next door neighbor is a tree service guy and is busiest in the spring.

    If someone is very very busy it's quite common to see a courtesy bid for work like this. I see it all the time in the construction/metalworking/fabrication businesses. You get a very high bid because they figure at that price they can still take the bid and pay overtime and make money, but are so busy they aren't going to cry if they don't get the work.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  17. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Glad to hear noone was hurt and the damage doesn't look extensive. Take good pictures of everything so that when you work with insurance they don't try to weasel out of any repairs.
    Uncle likes this.
  18. Don't tell your insurance company that you knew about a crack in the tree. An adjuster having a bad day could claim you were negligent in not having it taken care of and deny the claim.
    Uncle and ScotO like this.
  19. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I agree 100%. Don't lie to them, just don't tell them anything unless they ask...
    mikefrommaine and Uncle like this.

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