How Can You Recognize Signs of Price Gouging?

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Trees that are are the ground on your house or about to fall are expensive, but do you know how much it costs to take one down? Most folks don’t, and that’s where some unscrupulous tree people take advantage.

“it confuses the homeowner too because they don’t know what to expect,“ says RJ Runyon of Timber Warriors tree service.

All homeowners want is the tree gone safely and for the right price

But some folks are taking advantage of the disaster. South Carolina’s Attorney General has received more than 300 complaints of price gouging since the storm.

“Just greed and price gouging” Runyon says is what they are doing if for. “They will come in and won’t have a legitimate company set up to begin with.”

RJ Runyon works for Timber Warriors, a local company which is now national network of 700 different teams of tree workers who come to disaster areas like Savannah, Bluffton and Hilton Head to help clean up, one tree at a time.

“We don’t have that big variation in price because the experience involved,” explains Runyon. “that helps get us the speed which leads to a set price basically per hour for everybody.”

But not all prices are the same, especially when unlicensed or uninsured companies come in looking to make a buck.

“Our price for our insurance keeps going up when we have them and they try to undercut and don’t have insurance in place in the first place. Makes it difficult on us to pay our crew pay the insurance and keep our business going.”

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Their business is booming, as is so many other crews on the island. But how do you know what a “good” company is? Runyon says it starts with experience you can see.

 

“if they show up wearing flip flops and shorts you probably don’t want to hire them,” Runyon jokes.

“(Look at) how much time are they stumbling around thinking about it and how much time are they actually cutting and putting the tree on the ground.”

Equipment is a big key too. Having the right tools for the right job.

“What the equipment means is that they may not use it at your house, but they are prepared for any situation.”

“We have less and less accidents in the industry now because we use the rigging techniques and because we use the equipment now there’s less accidents now.”

What happens if you do pick the wrong team, one without without insurance.. or even a license?

“In a legal situation that crew I assume would disappear, the homeowner has no way of finding them, who they are or how they got there.”

Timber Warriors say the videos they have and referrals they get show the get work done fast and for a good price. Even while News 3 was there they got a testimonial from another satisfied customer.

‘these guys are absolutely the best.”

Locally police and sheriff’s say they haven’t gotten one report so far. But neighbors tell News 3 they’ve gotten price quotes that range $10,000 difference for the exact same job.

If a company is caught price gouging which is described as a “gross disparity” between quotes and actual prices – they can be charged with a misdemeanor, 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you think you’ve witnessed price gouging or been a victim yourself, email the Attorney General’s office at pricegouging@scag.gov

Or call 803-737-3953

You can also tweet out what you saw at @SCPriceGouging

For more information about Timber Warriors – http://www.timberwarriors.com/

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