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Leaf Removal reviews in Syosset

  • D
    Santon Landscape Design & Construction, Inc.
    My interaction with Hector Sasaguay (not his real last name, by the way, different one given on his cell phone, first sign something wasn't right...) didn't even get to the point of an agreed contract and service. Nevertheless, over a week's worth of negotiations I learned a lot and wanted to share my experience, so others look before leaping with this contractor, and perhaps save themselves some time and money.
    The experience was a perfect illustration of what happens when a contractor's number of good reviews goes to his head and he, consequently, gets not only cocky, but sloppy. My wife took an active part in the negotiations with me for a substantial clean-up and spruce-up of our 2 acres of property (not the largest, I'm sure, this landscaper has handled, but not the smallest, most likely, either). I made it very clear from the very beginning that my wife would be handling the direction and supervision of the work, so to please defer to her as well as myself throughout the process. We walked the property with Hector, and basically discovered one big tree, and two to three smaller trees downed from the storm this past fall and winter. Aside from that, we had a lot of leaves that needed to be removed, and a lawn that needed to be seeded, mowed, and fertilized. The trees were at the rear of the property, but we had lawn work that needed to be done on both the sides and front of the property.
    Hector returns the next day with a proposal and proceeds to explain to me how it will cost me approximately $10,000.00 (including tax) to clear a few trees and spruce up our lawn. He then attempts to convince me what a good price he's giving me for this job, as other landscapers would certainly take advantage and charge anywhere from $15-20,000.00 for the job (not true). When I tested him and told him (falsely) that one had quoted me for $20,000.00 already, his eyes popped opened wide with surprise, and he says, and quot;No kidding!and quot;
    This was his first rather conspicuous blunder/misstep. The next one was his tense body movements illustrating he was extremely uncomfortable as my wife went over the contract with us and began to point out some redundancies and errors in the write-up. My wife then excused herself to take care of the kids, and Hector was left alone with me at the negotiating table. Even though both my wife's and my name were listed as owners of the property at the top of the contract, he then attempts to wheel and deal with only me, in an attempt to close the deal, taking advantage of my wife's absence. I play along, looking to see what his next steps would be, and take out my checkbook (on my wife's and my joint account), writing him a deposit for $3,000.00. I tell him I think he's making us a good offer, and I put out my hand to shake that he has a deal. He shakes it, takes the check, I sign the agreement, and he then gets up abruptly to leave before my wife is able to come back and chime in. He shakes hands with me one more time, and then proceeds to walk quickly out the door.
    Incredulous that anyone would be so stupid as to think that a contract is valid and binding when only one of the two owners listed at the top signs, I tell my wife the story and she could not get over his actions and misogynistic behavior. I immediately put a stop payment on the check I gave him and call him a few days later telling him the deal is invalid.
    Later, looking at the contract he'd written up more closely, I noticed numerous redundancies, as well as phrase and word manipulations he had made (hiding behind a staged act of clumsiness with English) that basically rendered the entire proposal valid only for the REAR of the property. In other words, had both my wife and myself signed it, the sides and front of the property would not have been covered under the contract as he wrote it. They might have mowed the lawn there, they just probably wouldn't have done much else.
    In all, the experience was a lesson in not only testing out a contractor before you sign anything official; it was also an illustration of how they can (and will!) manipulate wording in a contract that, if you're not careful when reading it, can have serious repercussions later.
    This guy was a slick swindler, high on his reputation, who thought, erroneously, that he had had a deal in the bag with a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears homeowners. He was mistaken....and I hope future readers take note of his mistakes.
    - Eric D.
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