In early spring 2017, Riley sourced and planted two 100mm trees in my backyard - a silver maple and a bur oak. The oak tree was planted slightly off vertical, and to his credit, Riley returned within a few days to stake the tree exactly vertical.
By late May 2017, the oak tree was not looking very healthy. There were small caterpillars on the leaves and they appeared to be chewing through the leaves (gypsy moth?). Riley said he would come by and spray the trees “asap”. Three weeks passed and he hadn't been by. I emailed him but did not receive a response. Two more weeks passed and I emailed him again. Riley apologized for the delay and indicated that he was “spread quite thin”. I'm not sure if he ever came by to spray the tree, but in May 2018, my oak tree was looking really bad. I reached out to Riley and asked him what my options were. He said he was happy to replace the tree and said he would do his best to do it by the end of the following week [WEEK 1]. This was music to my ears, as I was eager to get the new tree in the ground.
WEEK 1 (May 29) – I reached out to Riley and asked if he was on track to replace the tree by the end of the week. He said he wasn't, but added "All next week [WEEK 2] is planting and we will be able to incorporate your work".
WEEK 2 (June 6) – I reached out to Riley to confirm he would be coming by. Riley apologized and said delays in his other jobs had pushed him off-schedule, so he wouldn't be able to get to my job that week. He said he would give me a heads-up two days before he planned to arrive.
WEEK 4 (June 21) – After not hearing anything from Riley in two weeks, I reached out to him by email and asked him why it was taking so long to get my tree replaced. He attempted to call me a couple of times, but at that point, I was not interested in listening to more excuses about why he hadn’t replanted the tree. I just wanted to know when the tree would be replaced. I asked that we continue to correspond by email.
WEEK 6 (July 4) – Two more weeks went by and again I reached out to Riley to ask him when the tree was going to be replaced. Riley responded that he had “tried his best to fit my tree replacement in with the rest of his spring planting but he was not successful”. He offered to supply a new tree and for me to hire another company to plant it. Alternatively, he said, and I quote, “If you would like to schedule an exact day, please pick any date after September 17”. Even though I was extremely frustrated with the timeline he was now proposing to replace my tree, I was not interested in having to hire (and pay for) another tree service company to plant the tree. I selected the date of September 18th. He then responded “Confirming your re-plant for September 18, should nothing become available sooner.”
WEEK 16 (September 11 &13) – I initiated an email exchange with Riley about the species of tree he was going to plant. In that exchange, Riley said “We are now looking at September 20 at the soonest due to this week’s setbacks.”
I couldn’t believe this! After all this delay, he was continuing to push me off, and he was still using non-committal language like “at the soonest ….” Feeling utterly exasperated by all the delays and excuses, and with no definitive date by which he would commit 100% to have the tree planted, I asked Riley straight up if he intended to ever replace and replant my tree, as it was apparent to me that my job was at the bottom of his priority list.
Riley responded by saying that he no longer wanted to deal with me. He refunded me the cost of the tree, presumably thinking that such a gesture ‘made me whole’. However, he now left me with having to research and and obtain quotes from other tree service companies to get a tree planted.
Fortunately, I was able to have a different tree service company source and plant a new tree for me (they did it on a one week turnaround!!).
On a whole, my experience with Riley was that he was very good at the ‘front-end’ of the transaction (i.e. the initial planting of the trees), but that his dedication and commitment to his clients (once he already has their money), was lacking.