Stupid Lawn Care Service

My mom is one of those people that is almost impossible to buy a gift for.  She’s past the age where she wants to collect anymore “things,” she’s finally retired from her store job and doesn’t need a whole lot of clothing (even if I could pick out something she’d like), and like a lot of us, just buys what she needs when she needs it.  I really like when I can surprise her with something she wants, so I make mental notes all year long if she mentions something she’d really like to have–and then hope she doesn’t go out and buy it before her birthday or Christmas.  And don’t think for one moment that just because she doesn’t know what she wants that you’re off the hook and can get away with no gift.  Believe me, she wants something.  You just gotta figure out what it is.

Sometimes the three of us (her kids) get together and buy her one big gift that she wants.  It’s a relief to all of us when she has a project in mind.  One year we got her a new kitchen floor.  Two Christmases ago we sprung for lawn treatments for the year.  So last year she was to get 4 or 5 treatments to take care of weeds, grubs, and crabgrass among other things.  My mom likes to have a nice lawn.

Last year was a rainy late spring.  I remember having to call the lawn service to ask them about when they were going to start the first treatment.  My husband (who knows about these things) said that if they started too late, the first treatment would be worthless.  They assured me that the treatment would work just fine.  They finally came, did their thing all year, and got their payment.  We weren’t that impressed.  There were still some weeds.  But we weren’t upset; they did their job.

This past Christmas we had some good gift ideas for mom.  We didn’t go the lawn care route.  It was just supposed to be a one time gift.  So imagine our surprise when my mom comes home, and finds a young man finishing up treating her lawn.  She said she didn’t order it.  He said he was sent there.  So she called us and asked if we set something up.

We each told her we hadn’t ordered anything.  I wasn’t even that impressed with their service last year.  I thought maybe they missed one last year and was making up for it.  What do I know?  Then today she gets a bill.

Well, she’s not going to pay it.  Neither is my brother, my sister, or myself.  No one ordered this.  When my mom called their office to ask about the bill, they said “Oh, we just automatically set up treatments for our past customers.”  Without a phone call?  Without an order?  We specifically told them how many treatments we wanted, we paid them for that many treatments, and then they take it upon themselves to just show up the next year without so much as a phone call?  And there was no written contract so there was no fine print to mention this strange sales practice.  It was all handled by telephone and was never mentioned that you had to “opt out” or they would just show up and spray your lawn without your consent.  So, I guess my mom just got a free lawn treatment.  I told her not to dare pay for it.  But I wonder how many poor little old ladies out there get duped into paying for something they just didn’t want.

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