ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - 5 on Your Side targets a tree service that seems good at collecting people's money but not as good at finishing the job. Mike Rush gets involved to clear the log-jam for customers.
As Rich Hogue sped away from 5 on Your Side outside a home in Union, Mo., he sure seemed like a busy beaver. Hogue is the owner of Busy Beaver Tree Service, a Washington, Mo. business that sports a proverb about fairness and a cute beaver cartoon but has an ugly reputation with a few customers.
Customers like Charlie Shiels.
"I had some trees that were dead in my yard and I went around and got three different bids," said Shiels, who finally decided to use Busy Beaver.
He paid Busy Beaver almost $700 to cut some trees and grind some stumps. That was October of last year.
"But the stumps remain," said Shiels. "I call them about once a week or every ten days or so."
5 on Your Side's Mike Rush called the owner of Busy Beaver, Rich Hogue. Hogue told Rush that equipment failure and bad weather had kept him from completing the job. But then, things turned nasty. He told Rush to shut his mouth and hung up on him.
But still, that very same day, he came out and took care of the stumps.
"I think your involvement was a major player in this," said Shiels.
And that could have been end of story, but then Shirley Geisler contacted Rush.
"I heard the house go thump and vibrate and I was like what was that," Geisler recalled from a time Hogue did tree work at her house. Her only connection to Shiels is that she too is an unsatisfied customer of the Busy Beaver.
She says a limb Hogue cut off her tree fell on her house, causing a hole in her roof and ceiling. Without texture and paint, Hogue's ceiling repair was never completed.
Rush: "This has been seven months for this little problem?"
Geisler: "Yes, sure has. And all this time it's been numerous calls to Rich with promises of him coming over."
So again, Rush contacted Hogue by phone.
Rush: "I'd like to extend the offer to meet with you again."
Hogue: "I really don't have a desire to meet with you. I really don't want to meet you even."
But meet they did. It happened outside Geisler's house.
Rush: "Hey, Rich; Mike Rush with Channel 5. I'd like to talk to you about your business practices."
The door was slammed.
Just like last time, after Rush called him, Hogue rushed over to fix a problem his customer believes he should have handled months ago.
Hogue ducked for cover in his truck as Rush approached and refused to answer any questions.
Rush: "You want to give us a word about your business practices, Rich? You want to give us your side of the story, Rich?"
No wonder he isn't talking. The repair is nothing to brag about, but Shirley has some satisfaction.
"What I hope would be the outcome of all of this would be to save someone else from going through the same experience," she said.