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

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.