Act with caution when hiring lawn care contracts

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is asking Hoosiers to be wary of potentially deceptive lawn care and tree trimming services when signing contracts this summer.

Many Hoosiers hire lawn care service providers such as mowing and landscaping companies to come to their homes once or twice a month. Many times consumers enter into contracts based on recommendations given by the lawn care service providers without reading the contracts themselves.

However, service providers at times may misrepresent services provided in order to get individuals to sign contracts with their companies.

In some cases, contracts feature automatic renewal for the following season if contracts are never formally canceled, leaving Hoosiers out of money by paying for services they may no longer need.

Last week, a judgement was entered in favor of the state after two retired couples were victims of improper business practices in 2014.

The two couples were offered tree trimming services from Cutter’s Tree Service. The service providers misrepresented the company in order to get the individuals to sign a contract by telling them that the company was bonded and insured -- and that they were licensed arborists.

In addition, the service providers told the couples they were in “good standing” on Angie’s List.

After the two couples entered into a contract with the company based on the misrepresentations, the service providers then returned to the individuals and stated that more services were needed, including cutting down the same trees that had already been trimmed.

The contracts signed were also not compliant with the Home Improvement Contracts Act, nor did the service providers inform the consumers of their right to cancel the transactions within three days, as required by the Home Solicitation Sales Act.

Hill encourages both homeowners and businesses to carefully read through any contracts they may be considering and to research companies.

If you have experienced any contractual issues contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General at or 1-800-382-5516.