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Westfield woman issues warning over sprinkler company

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WESTFIELD— Spring will soon be here, and for many of us, that means sprucing up your garden with flowers and green grass.

Many people will be looking to hire contractors to help with yard work, but before that, you’ll want to hear the story of this Hamilton County woman.

Westfield’s Sue Mullen was looking for help to keep her lawn and landscaping looking great.

“We wanted to put an underground sprinkler because we have a lot of landscaping around the yard and I was tired of carrying the hose around the yard,” Sue said.

Sue’s neighbor gave her a flyer recommending Green Lawn Underground Sprinklers.

“They sent me a quote, and when I looked at it, it was very reasonable,” Sue said. “They were cheaper than any I had called.”

Green Lawn Underground Sprinklers installed its irrigation system on September 23, records show.

Sue paid $100 up front and nearly $3,500 for the job, but soon after she said something was wrong.

“The neighbor started noticing there was water running down the street,” Sue said.

Concerned about a leak, Sue contacted Green Lawn.

“I’ve sent three emails and about four text messages and I know my husband has called about three times,” Sue said. “Nobody answered.”

Sue hired a plumber who found the irrigation job had been “poorly done” and the sprinkler company had used the wrong fitting to connect the water line to the meter pit.

The plumber also found that the irrigation line was mismanaged and as a result the water meter cover did not close properly.

Sue says her irrigation system is working now.

“It will be because it was fixed and replaced by the plumber,” Sue said.

Sue says that between the plumbing repair bill and the extra water costs from the leak, she racked up about $3,000 in unexpected costs.

She filed complaints with the Indiana Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, and she contacted WRTV Investigates with concerns about the Green Lawn underground sprinklers.

“They don’t answer me,” Sue said. “I try to get their attention somehow.”

WRTV Investigates did some checking and found that Green Lawn Underground Sprinklers currently had a Better Business Bureau alert.

The alert says:

“Consumers allege that the company:

  • Performs materially deficient, defective or poor quality work.
  • Fails to repair defective work within a reasonable time.
  • Does not respond to consumer requests for updates or refunds in a timely manner.

On March 11, 2021, BBB asked the company to respond to the alleged pattern of complaint. As of June 30, 2021, the company had not responded to BBB requests. “

We asked BBB spokeswoman Jennifer Adamany what she could tell us about the Green Lawn underground sprinklers.

“They have an F rating which is the lowest on the BBB rating scale and we’ve seen a complaint pattern for faulty installations or some kind of hardware defect,” Adamany said.

Adamany also said they have a history of not responding to consumer complaints.

“It’s essential,” Adamany said. “You can’t always keep customers happy, but you can be transparent about the situation or let them know you’re hearing them and trying to resolve their needs.”

WRTV Investigates stopped at Carmel’s address on the Green Lawn website – it’s a UPS store.

We also visited the address on Sue’s contract, 5737 West 85and Street, but another business is located in this space.

We emailed company president Troy Tverberg, who agreed to a Zoom interview with WRTV from his home in Florida.

“I live in Florida,” Tverberg said. “We are a seasonal business. “

Tverberg said they were typically in Indiana from mid-April to mid-October.

“We’ll rent an apartment or an AirBnb while I’m up there and working there,” Tverberg said. “My trailer/truck that I park in a storage place over the summer.”

They closed their physical location on 85and street in 2020, Tverberg said.

“We actually started the business in 1997 with my brothers in Minnesota,” Tverberg said. “We expanded to Indianapolis in 2010.”

WRTV investigating Kara Kenney asked for Tverberg’s response to the BBB Alert on his business.

“To be honest, it hasn’t been a hindrance for any of my businesses,” Tverberg said. “Nobody ever says ‘you know what Troy, your Better Business Bureau is an F'”. That’s not important to me. I guess it should be.

As for Sue Mullen at Westfield and Green Lawn who did not return her messages, Tverberg admitted that he did not communicate with her.

“I was a little lost on what I should have done,” Tverberg said. “Should I have called her?” Absoutely. I should have called her. I should have taken care of it right away. I did not do it. I blew this.

Tverberg denied that his company improperly installed Sue Mullen’s irrigation system.

“Sometimes things fail,” Tverberg said. “It could be a faulty part. I do not know.”

Tverberg runs the business with his family and says they are working to resolve complaints and improve their BBB rating.

Following our interview, Tverberg sent Sue Mullen a check for $2,908 that covered her additional water bills and plumber’s repair bill.

“I’m really good with people,” Tverberg said. “Do some people fall through the cracks from time to time? Yes, they do.

Although Sue Mullen collected several quotes, she was unaware of the BBB’s alert on the Green Lawn underground sprinklers when she hired them.

She would have liked to do more research.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through,” Sue said.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice before hiring someone to work on your home or garden:

  • Research and gather information. Find an entrepreneur’s business profile on BBB.org to get free information on their complaint history, read verified customer reviews and see if they are an accredited company. BBB Accredited Companies are committed to BBB Accreditation Standards, including: Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Listen to Customers , protect confidentiality and embody integrity. Also search the company name online with “Complaint”, “Review” or “Scam” to find different results. Ask the company if employees and contractors undergo background checks. Are they trained and certified? What ID will they show when they come to your house?
  • Ask for references. Ask the contractor for a list of recent local references you can contact. Ask the references about the services rendered and their overall experience with the contractor and the quality of the work. Ask if the contractor met the estimated budget and the project completion date. If possible, inspect the contractor’s work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.
  • Request multiple quotes. You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different companies. Make sure all offers consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid; if one offer is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may cut corners or not understand your job requirements.
  • Get it in writing. Always get estimates in writing and never let any job start without a written and signed contract. Don’t be forced to sign an agreement before you’re ready, and make sure you read and understand everything before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and end dates, a detailed description of the exact work to be performed, material costs, payment terms and warranty information. Specify who must obtain the necessary building permits and who is responsible for cleaning. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask how much work will be subcontracted and request information about subcontractors. Ask questions if you don’t understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.
  • Check license and insurance. Always make sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your area. In the United States, you can contact your state licensing agency for more information. here. In Canada, the requirements differ from province to province. Look for information specific to the province where you are having the work done. Your Local BBB can help. Once you have your contractor’s insurance information, call the carrier to confirm appropriate coverage for workers’ compensation, property damage, and personal liability in the event of an accident.
  • Confirm building permits. Your contractor must have the proper permits before starting your project. They’ll usually get the permits, but you’ll probably have to pay for them. This should be detailed in your contract. Request that all final inspections be carried out by the local building official prior to final payment.
  • Ask about a waiver of privilege. A waiver of lien, in the United States, is a statement from your contractor that all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work. In some Canadian provinces, there is a mandatory builder’s lien holdback, so make sure you understand any financial obligations you may be liable for.
  • Consider future service issues. Make sure you know your warranty coverage and how to handle service issues.
  • Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full in advance. Spread your payments so your final payment isn’t due until the work is complete and you’ve fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is made out to a business and not an individual, or that you are using a credit card. Paying with a credit card will provide some recourse if the work is not completed as stated in the contract.
  • Obtain a receipt. Ask for a receipt marked “Full Payment” when the work is complete and your final payment has been made.
  • Keep your contract. Keep your contract for future reference or if questions arise after the work is completed.