Blind veteran awaits tree removal five months after paying thousands

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PORTAGE, Mich. -- Michael Alford said he's beyond disappointed with a local tree cutting company. He said his family became concerned about two maples in his front yard being diseased, so he paid $2,000 upfront for a $2,500 job to have them removed.

His daughter found 'Top Notch Tree Experts' in Hartford. (Note: There are other companies with very similar names.)

Alford said, "We paid them in November."

"We decided to cut them down before they fell down on their own. It's cheaper to take two trees down than it is to replace the house," he reasoned.

Today, the two trees are still standing.

"This is ridiculous. Five months later to do a three day job," he said.

Alford, who's legally blind, is already living with a number of challenges on a limited income. The frustration is taxing on Alford who says he's living with the effects of Agent Orange. He served our country in the Vietnam War and even earned a Purple Heart.

"As a result of my service in Vietnam, I've lost most of my eyesight. I'm diabetic," he said. Alford added that his kidney's are failing.

He said of the company, "They don't answer our calls or give us a call and tell us why they're not going to be here."

Jenny Deleon stops by to check on her father. She said the owner of Top Notch Tree Experts, Brian Vanlandingham, has given them nothing but excuses. That's if he even responds.
While they say some limbs were cut, it's not what they paid for.

"I just think it's wrong to take advantage of people, especially veterans," she said.

Alford said, "They've had a lot of real nice days to come out here and finish the job."

Deleon said, "Just give us the money back or get the trees done as promised. If life has gotten in the way and you can't do the job then give us our money back so we can get somebody that can do it."

The FOX 17 Problem Solvers called the company and heard back from the owner, Brian Vanlandingham. He acknowledged his communication with the family has been poor and said other things came up, including tending to his family. When asked when he'd have the job done, he said this upcoming Sunday or Monday. Vanlandingham ​also agreed to do an interview and show he followed up. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

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