GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Lawn care season is in full swing and many homeowners are looking to hire private companies to take care of their yards. But be careful.
A lot of people say they paid hundreds of dollars to Keith Hoffer to cut their grass. They said he never mowed a single blade, and they're upset and want their money back. Hoffer owns "GR Grounds Care."
79-year-old Patricia Rabourn takes pride in keeping up her property herself.
"Oh yea, I always mow the lawn myself," Rabourn said, "I love doing that, getting out doing that."
But it's diabetes that's slowed her down. So her son, Dan, decided to hire "GR Grounds Care" for the summer. Dan Rabourn said he paid more than $400 to Hoffer.
Lisa Barrentine said she paid Hoffer $240 to cut her grass. But both women say Hoffer didn't do anything but disappear.
"We lost all contact with him," she said.
Patricia Rabourne said, "Being old, I get so many calls from people trying to scam you."
The "GR Grounds Care" Facebook page shows numerous complaints. It appears Keith Hoffer deleted his own post where he promised to pay people back.
"I just posted on there that maybe somebody should call the Problem Solvers. This isn't right," Barrentine said
The Problem Solvers went to the Grand Rapids address printed on his business card.
A man who lives at the home address, Jerry Rutka, said he kicked Hoffer out in September 2015 for failing to pay rent. Rutka also said Hoffer has been in and out of jail.
"He's been released about three years, and he's trying to make a good life. I trusted him like a friend," Rutka said.
The Problem Solvers checked Hoffer's criminal record which dates back to the early '90s with theft and burglary convictions.
"Keith, if you're watching, I want you to know that what you did was not right. I understand things happen but there's a protocol and there's a way to resolve issues and that wasn't done," Barrentine said.
The Problem Solvers called Keith Hoffer earlier in the week, left voice messages and asked for an on camera interview. He then reached out via Facebook and said he would email his side of the story. We haven't heard back.
The Better Business Bureau suggests you carefully research and vet lawn care services. Speak with at least three companies. Compare prices.
The lowest price isn't always the best service to go with. Ask if the company is licensed and insured. Find out if they're part of any trade associations. Get everything in writing and carefully scrutinize the contract.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-447-5291