WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit Thursday against Jacksonville, Fla.-based Canary Tree Service and its owner Justin Hartmann for allegedly price gouging Wilmington-area homeowners after Hurricane Florence.
“My office will not allow price gouging to go unchecked,” said Stein. “These out-of-state operators took advantage of homeowners rebuilding after Hurricane Florence. That’s against the law, and my office will hold them accountable.”
According to the complaint, two homeowners were charged $9,500 for 14 hours of work. Another homeowner was charged $4,500 for six hours of work. A fourth homeowner was charged $14,000 for 30 hours of work though another company estimated that work to cost approximately $2,400. A fifth homeowner was quoted $750 for removing a small tree. That work ultimately was completed in less than an hour by a neighbor.
Stein spoke at the New Hanover Senior Center Thursday morning offering tips to residents so they too don’t fall victim.
“We have received over a 1,000 complaints since last fall, not all turn out to be price gouging, but through these complaints we learn about bad actors, so when in doubt call us,” he stated.
Stein said always go with a reputable company, get multiple quotes for the work needed to be done, don’t pay for anything until its completed, and get a contract in writing.
The complaint can be seen below: