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AG Nessel Issues Second Notice of Intended Action Related to Tree Trimming in Gaylord

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking additional action following suspected price gouging after last month’s tornado in Gaylord.  

The Notice of Intended Action (NIA) is related to but separate from a Department action taken against Canary Date Sculpting - doing business as Canary Tree Service - last month.   

The Department received a consumer complaint related to the removal of two trees following the May 20 tornado. The company that approached the resident was identified as E & B Contracting, a limited liability company from Kentucky.  Prior to meeting with the representative from E & B Contracting, the resident had received a quote from a Gaylord-area tree service to remove the two trees for $4,200 if paid by insurance.  

“According to the consumer, you told her you could do the work for less than the price that had been bid by the local company. In so doing, you persuaded her to not trouble her friends, and assured her the billing would be done to her insurance company and she would not have to pay anything out-of-pocket,” the NIA states.   

The NIA also explains that the E & B representative said that he would provide a written cost estimate before starting the work, only for the consumer to later learn the job was done without that commitment being met.

Through investigating the complaint, it was determined the billing for E & B Contracting was submitted to insurance by Canary Tree Service, which is the same company that faces its own NIA currently. The invoice submitted for the removal of the two trees was for $33,962.50, thus prompting the new NIA filed against E & B Contracting Wednesday.   

“This consumer’s experiences, including the misrepresentations she reports having heard from you, are consistent with the evidence this Office has obtained related to other consumers served by companies that bill through Canary Tree Service. Further, like those consumers, this Gaylord resident has endured stress beyond that already caused by the storm damage because it caused her to become involved in Canary’s efforts to collect from Allstate on an unconscionable invoice. This puts this consumer in a position that is both unfair and unacceptable,” the NIA goes on to state.  

“I will not tolerate attempts to exploit the hardship the Gaylord area is currently facing for financial gain,” Nessel said. “I appreciate the diligent work our Consumer Protection Team continues to do to ensure businesses that traveled to Northern Michigan were not creating the impression they sought to help and assist, when in reality they intended to exploit those who are already suffering from this tragic event."  

E & B Contracting has until June 20 to respond to the NIA, which is now available on the Department of Attorney General website

An attorney representing Canary Tree Service made timely contact with the Attorney General’s Corporate Oversight Division requesting an extension to the response time for the NIA.  That response is now anticipated by June 13th.  Upon receiving that response, the Attorney General will either explore settlement through an assurance agreement or move forward with a court filing seeking to commence further investigation.