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Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Bobbss #526937 10/20/20 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbss
Steve, I don't want to give you a hard time and I'm only saying this to try and help, but I wouldn't go by anything that guy said. How long and high is your dam going to be? My dam is about 150' long and 21' high. They got all of the dirt to build it out of the pond area. They was hoping to make it 26' high but they ran out of dirt. It takes a LOT of dirt! The sides of my pond are pretty steep from all the dirt they took out to make my dam. They used two 953 high lifts to build it and it took about 4 days. Maybe my guys were slow, but I can't see someone building much of a dam in 1 day.

I appreciate it man, and I know your intentions aren't malicious. In North Carolina, a dam can only be 15' high before a permit it required, so that's what I'm working with. The length of the dam isn't going to be very long, as my pond will be more "football field shaped" than a perfect circle or oval. Using the measure tool on google maps, I estimate the dam will be between 90-110' feet long, and the overall length of the pond from the dam to the opposite shore line will be around 230'. The dam side of the pond is very deep and the opposite side is very shallow, so I assume he was planning on taking dirt from both the shallow end and the sides to make the dam (if he even intended on doing it, of course).

@esshup - The issue that I'll probably have is estimating the cost of the timber, since I've only seen him take 2 small loads to the mill. He said he only got $500 for the first load because he didn't cut them to the preferred lengths that the mill wanted. The 2nd load should've netted more. I work 2nd shift and leave for work around 2pm everyday so I honestly have no idea if he's taken more loads that I'm unaware of. Also, out of the $8500 I've given him, I have no idea how they would estimate how much work he's actually done relative to the amount he quoted me and the amount he's completed. He's done mostly tree work, and very little dirt work. I'll try to get some pictures or videos of the mess I have and see what you guys think.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #526953 10/20/20 11:20 PM
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Steve...hurting for you, man. I'm dealing with a contractor right now also, just not quite so bad - but still sucks.

My recent legal experiences with this situation may serve as a helpful guide for you. I again offer to hop on a call with you and help try to circle the wagons - happy to help. I'm an email away.

TJ


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
teehjaeh57 #526971 10/21/20 11:00 AM
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I did a short video to show the mess I have, and to see what you guys think:

https://youtu.be/xzLFToj-0lw

TJ, I may just do that, thank you.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #526972 10/21/20 11:25 AM
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Do you know where he lives? Pretty sure I would be paying him a visit. Not saying go over with any weapons. Him and I would be having a (conversation).

My neighbor stole my kids hoverboard. I reported it they came n talked 2 him and me. He admitted he took it but cant find it. They did nothing. The system is so screwed up I dont trust it at all. From then on I will take care of my own family since they wont.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
RStringer #526977 10/21/20 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Do you know where he lives? Pretty sure I would be paying him a visit. Not saying go over with any weapons. Him and I would be having a (conversation).

My neighbor stole my kids hoverboard. I reported it they came n talked 2 him and me. He admitted he took it but cant find it. They did nothing. The system is so screwed up I dont trust it at all. From then on I will take care of my own family since they wont.

That's another hurdle I have, since there's an active warrant out for him right now, finding him will be a chore. He has about a dozen different addresses for the past 10-15 years. And I agree, the system is very screwed up. There is absolutely no protection for the consumer in this situation. Even with a contract, receipts for all payments, and documentation of all communication, there's no guarantee you'll ever get your money back, even if you win. In a perfect world, the county court would pay you and he would become a debtor to the county. Nope, you have to fight to get your money back. With no income to garnish, probably no bank account to levy, no equipment to put a lien on and no known address, you're screwed. He knew all of this, and I didn't... or maybe I did, but just didn't think it would happen to me.

That sucks about your kids' hoverboard. "I took it but can't find it" sounds a lot to me like, "I took it and sold it." At the very least, his parents should've offered to buy your kid a new one, or reimburse you. Like you said, this is why people take matters into their own hands. You just can't expect people to do the right thing anymore.

On a minor positive note, I got a guy coming out tomorrow to give me an estimate to finish the pond. This is the original guy I got an estimate from. While I feel like this guy is legit (has his own business, with a website, and many positive reviews..and my neighbor also knows him), he's not great at returning phone calls or replying to texts. I called him last Friday, and he said he would come out this week to look at it. I called him Tuesday, no answer, and it said his voicemail box wasn't set up, so I texted him. No reply, no phone call. Called him again today, and he said he'll try to come out tomorrow. I'm just about to the point where I'm gonna rent a big dozer and pay to fly one of y'all out to North Carolina to help me fix this mess lol.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #526979 10/21/20 01:46 PM
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Send me a ticket LOL. Not a pro at pond building but I know most of the do's and don'ts. I could leave you with one hellva hole if nothing else. When I got home my wife would kill me so I better not. I looked into renting one and it was over 3000 for one week. That's not including fuel or transporting it. My little Kubota only takes diesel so I went with that on mine (not recommending). Karma will get him some day.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
RStringer #526980 10/21/20 02:16 PM
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What kind of equipment was it for the 3000/wk? I'm no expert, but I've seen the kind of dirt a big dozer can push, and I don't think I'd need it for more than a day or two. And of course, I have no way of transporting it so I'd have to add some cost for that.

Maybe a better question, what kind of cost range could I expect if I hired someone to run a big dozer for 1 day? I'm THINKING it can be done in a single day.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #526991 10/22/20 05:02 AM
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Im pretty sure it was a D8. Could be wrong on that. Around here we got a fella that's charges 175 an hour. Prolly a min charge of 4 hours. He has a big dozer and track hoe.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #526999 10/22/20 04:10 PM
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Update, I’ve been in contact with a detective and it turns out that this guy has been ripping people off all summer long, peddling his pool scam. He’s also ripped people off from offering tree removal services. I put a notice out on a Facebook group that covers a large portion of my area and you would not believe the messages I received from people who he ripped off, several people with $50k pools. Silver lining, one of his victims was able to get a hold of his business insurance policy information, and we’ve all took out a claim against it. If all goes well, they should cover getting my pond, and everyone’s pools finished.

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Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527009 10/23/20 08:17 AM
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Hope it works out good for ya. Bet that insurance company wish they would a have did a better reference check on him.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527011 10/23/20 08:59 AM
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Steve,

I've been following this thread and its really good to read that the insurance might help to cover the loss. Also would just like to say I think your response to this curve ball life has thrown at you is exemplary. I am really looking forward to reading how your dreams of having this pond have been realized and how much you are enjoying it.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
jpsdad #527014 10/23/20 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Hope it works out good for ya. Bet that insurance company wish they would a have did a better reference check on him.

I was thinking the same thing. I almost feel bad for the insurance company. Almost...

Originally Posted by jpsdad
Steve,
I've been following this thread and its really good to read that the insurance might help to cover the loss. Also would just like to say I think your response to this curve ball life has thrown at you is exemplary. I am really looking forward to reading how your dreams of having this pond have been realized and how much you are enjoying it.

Thank you sir, it's been a struggle lately. I've compared this situation to telling a kid that they're going to Disneyland, but everyday you give them another excuse for why they haven't gone yet, and 6 weeks later, saying, "Nah, just kidding." From the post I made on Facebook about this guy, and being ripped off, I've received many offers from people to come fix this mess. One guy even offered to do it for free if I had the equipment to do it (I don't), which totally blew me away.

I got a new quote from the very first guy I spoke to, and he said he'd charge $2500 just to finish clearing the trees and brush (and burning it for me), and probably another $3750-5000 to build the dam. I don't have that kind of money right now, so I'm really banking on this insurance thing panning out. Thank you all again for your support and kind words. There are some terrible people out there, but devastating situations like this have shown me that there are still some decent folks out there, too, looking to do the right thing.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527015 10/23/20 01:57 PM
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I have never heard of insurance that covers a company's customers and allows them to file claims.

Last edited by RAH; 10/23/20 02:00 PM. Reason: addition
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Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
RAH #527019 10/23/20 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RAH
I have never heard of insurance that covers a company's customers and allows them to file claims.

Nor have I, to be honest. I've been walked through the steps from one of the victims that he ripped off (gave him $23k out of a $48k quote for a swimming pool), and from what he said, the insurance company would basically cover the lost amount, and hire a new contractor to complete the job, and the victim would still have to pay the $25k balance. At least that's what I've been told. We'll see.

From my little bit of research on it, I only see where you can file property damage claims against their liability insurance. In my scenario, I don't know how you can put a price tag on restoring all of the trees and dirt back to its original state, but I sure as hell am going to try.

Edit: After doing further research, I think I may be dealing with something called a Surety Bond, which is usually handled by an insurance company. A bond protects the customer, so if he was bonded, then that will be great for me and everyone else he scammed.

Last edited by Steve_; 10/23/20 02:55 PM.
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527021 10/23/20 04:10 PM
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Very interesting

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527024 10/23/20 10:26 PM
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Steve:

I talked to TJ. Give him a call.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
esshup #527113 10/26/20 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by esshup
Steve:

I talked to TJ. Give him a call.

I don't have his number. Not sure if he's posted it before.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527119 10/26/20 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_
Originally Posted by esshup
Steve:

I talked to TJ. Give him a call.

I don't have his number. Not sure if he's posted it before.

Send him a private message asking for his phone number.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527284 11/02/20 05:53 PM
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Just an update: I finally talked to a representative from this guy's insurance company (after 4 days of giving me the runaround). I have a claim submitted, and sent them a copy of the contract, copies of all payments I gave him, and pictures of his "work." I'm trying to not get my hopes up, but I feel like I have a really good case to get my money back or have them get a new contractor to give me a pond.

@TJ - I took your advice from our phone call and called my homeowner's insurance to see about the tree theft. They don't cover anything like that, so I'm hoping this guy's bond will cover it. I'm not exactly sure how they'd determine the value of the trees he took, other than by measuring the remaining stumps he didn't remove and giving me an estimate. I had 2 different guys tell me that I had $3-5k worth of trees in my little lot, so it'd be nice to get some of that back, as I was planning on using that money to invest back into the pond. I'll keep everyone updated.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527299 11/03/20 11:34 PM
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Steve_, give the state forester a call.

You could also give these guys a shout and see if there is anyone local to you that could give you an estimate on the price of the timber that was stolen. https://www.ncforestry.org/


www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
1 member likes this: Steve_
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527308 11/04/20 07:40 AM
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In North Carolina it is a Class H Felony if the value of the theft is $1,000 and higher.

You probably have photos of the area you marked for your pond, yes? And so any certified arborist should be able to look at those photos, the remaining stumps and surrounding trees, and provide a dollar value to you. And unless it was pure junk it should value over $1K. Moving the theft of property from a misdemeanor to a felony makes a big difference. Although it sounds like the perpetrator has a long line of others he has wronged ahead of you.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
basslover #527315 11/04/20 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by basslover
In North Carolina it is a Class H Felony if the value of the theft is $1,000 and higher.

You probably have photos of the area you marked for your pond, yes? And so any certified arborist should be able to look at those photos, the remaining stumps and surrounding trees, and provide a dollar value to you. And unless it was pure junk it should value over $1K. Moving the theft of property from a misdemeanor to a felony makes a big difference. Although it sounds like the perpetrator has a long line of others he has wronged ahead of you.

Yeah, he has a long history of felonies, so this would just be another to add to the pile. I do have lots of before-and-after photos and videos. Whether it's a misdemeanor or a felony won't help me recover money directly from him I don't think. According to one of his other victims and research I've done myself, he has absolutely no assets. Everything he "owns" or uses is in other people's names, and of course, he has no legitimate wages that they could garnish.

I just want my pond! *stamps foot on ground*

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527320 11/04/20 05:27 PM
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You didn't do even a rudimentary background check? Sorry, but you messed up. Live and learn. First, don't pay in advance. Next, get references. Next, pay a few bucks for a background check, if it's not a well known company. Very sorry you lost a bunch of money, but I cannot have a lot of sympathy. People get scammed too easily. The whole deal just seems foreign to the usual ways of doing business. Don't take it as personal criticism, but use it moving forward as a learning experience. Don't trust people. Verify everything.

Last edited by John Fitzgerald; 11/04/20 05:33 PM.
Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
John Fitzgerald #527321 11/04/20 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by John Fitzgerald
You didn't do even a rudimentary background check? Sorry, but you messed up. Live and learn. First, don't pay in advance. Next, get references. Next, pay a few bucks for a background check, if it's not a well known company. Very sorry you lost a bunch of money, but I cannot have a lot of sympathy. People get scammed too easily. The whole deal just seems foreign to the usual ways of doing business. Don't take it as personal criticism, but use it moving forward as a learning experience. Don't trust people. Verify everything.

As I said, this is the first time I've EVER hired anyone to do any kind of contract work. We just bought our first home over the summer, and that was a new process to me as well. Everything he said sounded legit, and I had my mind on the end result... which was my ultimate downfall. They don't exactly teach you these kinds of things in school. I've never been scammed and I surely would've questioned his motives if I saw any red flags. I'm not asking for sympathy, just wanted to post this so other people don't make the same mistake I did.

In hindsight, I'm not even 100% sure that he intended to rip me off. Some of the work he did wasn't that of someone that had no intentions of finishing the job. If I took a contract job where I intended to rip someone off, I would do the least amount of work to just barely keep the person on the hook that I would finish the job. When he found a spring and had to clear more trees to move the dam back further into the woods, doesn't sound like something he would do if he didn't plan on finishing it... the trees he cut down weren't worth anything and he actually left them laying down. If he didn't plan on finishing the job, I'm not sure why he'd do all that extra chainsaw work, which is arguably the worst part of the job. I'd just piddle around on my equipment all day if it were me, but who knows. The day he quit working was a day after his warrant was issued, so that may have been part of it. I guess we'll never know.

Re: Pond Builder Scammed Me
Steve_ #527322 11/04/20 07:35 PM
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Every High school senior should be required to attend and pass a class several days long on how to avoid and spot scams, and how to do simple contracts. It would be more valuable than a lot of other classes that last an entire semester.

Last edited by John Fitzgerald; 11/04/20 07:36 PM. Reason: spelling
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