Senior citizen pays tree service thousands, forced to cut her own wood

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JENISON, Mich. -- When Patricia Nelson paid a tree company $3,000 to cut down and remove trees on her property, the 70-year-old didn't expect she'd have to cut and move logs herself.

"This is what he left us, and I just don't think it's right," Nelson pointed out.

She said Donald Thompson of Thompson Tree Service needs to do his job or give her her money back. Nelson said Thompson approached her for work as he was going door to door after a storm in July left damage throughout her neighborhood.

Nelson said she needed (and still needs) three trees cut down, as well as stump removal.

"And he said, 'Oh I can take care of this,'" Nelson recalled her conversation with Thompson.

So she paid $1,500 down using her credit card on August 2nd. About a month later, she said Thompson asked for the other $1,500 even though his crew had only cut some limbs.

Nelson said, "I shouldn't have paid him. I know that."

But she did, and it was at that point she said Thompson Tree Service went AWOL. She said Thompson didn't return her calls but gave her a laundry list of excuses through text messages. The 70-year-old saw no other option than to cut and move logs herself from one side of the yard to the other.

"My husband with his dementia— he can't walk by himself, and he can't do anything by himself. So my time outside is limited," Nelson said.

She added, "I either do it, or it doesn't get done."

So Nelson reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers and we called Thompson who blamed the delay on his employees.

After a number of excuses, he finally told FOX 17 he'd get the job done by this weekend. Not longer after, he called Helson and gave her the same promise he gave us. She's just hoping this time it doesn't come up empty.

"The message is to do the work. Either do the work or I want a refund," Nelson said.

She said she figures she still has about $2,000 worth of work that Thompson did not do. He promised he would have the work done by Sunday. We will definitely be following up.

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  • Judy K Glass

    Hello Mr. Cunningham,
    I’m sure you can imagine my feelings when I learned that another elderly couple had been “robbed” by Donald Thompson and his so called “Tree Service”. My sisters and I had reached out to you a few weeks ago with an almost identical story of Donald Thompson and him taking advantage of elderly couples namely, my parents who also live in Jenison. We had communicated via text a meeting time at my parent’s home in Jenison but you didn’t make it. I then called you on the phone and after some discussion, I believe we left that conversation with me asking you to email me your schedule so we could try to make arrangements for another time but I have not heard back from you. I feel it would be beneficial to follow up the Nelson’s story with a second incident, being that of my parents.
    My nephew did email WOOD TV8 on behalf of my parents, we will talk to them as well as your station. This story could be bigger than either one of us realize.
    If case you no longer have my email with mine and my sister’s contact information, I will fill out the required details below.
    Thank you,
    Judy Glass

    • Darren Cunningham

      Hi Ms. Glass, let’s connect. I do think the difficulty was in coordinating multiple people’s schedules. Whereas Ms. Nelson did not need much notice and met with us by herself. I wish I had more control of my schedule. I did propose to you meeting this past Sunday which those days work great for me, but I understand your parents would prefer not to do that on a Sunday. Let’s connect soon.


    My name is Kenny, I live in hudsonville…by no means am I in the “tree service” biz. If the issue isn’t resolved I would be more than happy to help out this couple…I have a chainsaw & a truck…i can come over Sunday. give me a call Kenny 480-298-1311

    • Barbara Nelson

      I will let my mom know. Thank you for the offer. Thompsons tree service said they would have it done Sunday. It also saddens me to think this isn’t the first time Thomes on has taken advantage of someone. Per the comment above.

      • Mike Smith

        Hello Barbara,
        You can also reach out to me if the job doesn’t get completed as I would be happy to donate time to take care of the large trunks and stumps left behind.
        Mike’s Tree Service

  • Timothy Nordyke

    next time go with BNS Lawn And Tree Service, a company determined to remove Mr. Thompson from the field. would have charged $1000 and job would’ve been done same day or next day, started immediately.

    see, Donald Thompson has been robbing people like this for years. originally co-owner of M&D tree service, obviously the M Vacated the M&D situation as he was getting robbed as well. Donald thompson is actually an addict and drug dealer out of wyoming MI. For years He’s been watched as he tore lives apart, and in my opinion, should have been erased a long time ago, 30 unhappy customers and 2 deaths later, he still roams fronting a farce tree service with stolen equipment, pushing heroin, adderall, various narcotics, opiates and meth across the area without any regard to the lives of the people he interacts with.
    This is not just counter promotion either. My name is Timothy Nordyke, and I’m not even in the field anymore. Just an informant that knows more about donnie than he wan’ts me too
    Donald thompson, donnie, D Thompson. whatever he decides to call himself at the time should NEVER be trusted and police should be called on site.

  • Sabella

    You never any the other half without the completion of the job!! Poor lady God forgive that man!! We are a landscaping company and would love to help her out this spring!!! C&Cs wholesale Plants and Landscapes @616-312-7604!! Chris or Bell!!! We are out of Holland, God bless:)

  • Sabella

    You never give up the other half without the completion of the job!! Poor lady God forgive that man!! We are a landscaping company and would love to help her out this spring!!! C&Cs wholesale Plants and Landscapes @616-312-7604!! Chris or Bell!!! We are out of Holland, God bless:)

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