Mid-South contractor accused of taking money without finishing job for a second time

Investigations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman says she paid a $600 down payment to have a tree removed, but the contractor was a no-show. This isn’t the first time WREG has told you about this contractor either.

Holly Cooper says she started contacting contractors just before Labor Day to get estimates on a tree in her yard that needed to be cut down.

“I reached out to Cameron Reeder. He was a contractor that I found on Angie’s List. He said he would remove the tree,” she said.

Holly Cooper says this dead tree fell on her fence a week after a contractor was supposed to come cut it down.

She says she felt good about him and his business, Premium Pools and Landscape.

“I chose him because not only did he have a good bid, but I liked his personality,” Cooper said.

He just asked for a down payment of $600. She showed us a receipt she paid him on Sept. 2.

“He then used excuse after excuse to not come and remove the tree. First it was raining,” Cooper said. “Two days later he said he was going to come back and he never showed.”

A no-show turned into a no-answer.

“I continued to email and text him and just asking for my refund, and he was non-responsive,” Cooper said. “Finally, I just stopped and figured I needed a new route.”

That new route ended in a call to WREG’s investigator Jessica Gertler, since this isn’t the first time WREG has told you about this contractor.

In July 2019, two homeowners from the Mid-South told us they hired Reeder to do some landscaping. At that time, his company was called Elite Landscapes.

Just like Cooper, they claim they gave Reeder a hefty down payment, and he never completed the work. Reeder told us back then, things like weather, the owners and family trips kept him from doing his job.

This time, there was no answer when we tried calling his business, so we went to his listed address.

A man who said he is Reeder’s grandfather told us to call Reeder. We’ve left several messages but have yet to hear back.

The Tennessee Attorney General’s office says no one has complained about Reeder or his companies, but said consumers should alert them.

A spokesperson with the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance said you can file a complaint with them as well, and they’ll see if they have jurisdiction.

The spokesperson also said that a landscaper or contractor can be prosecuted criminally by the local district attorney, explaining that in Tennessee, there is a felony theft law for contractors who take money and fail to perform the work within 90 days.

The law has specific steps — you have to first “notify the contractor in writing to refund the money within ten days and copy the AG’s office,” the spokesperson said. After those ten days, you “may move forward with having the contractor arrested and criminally prosecuted,” and it could result in restitution or jail time.

Cooper says the experience was a valuable lesson learned, and an expensive one.

She said a week after Reeder was supposed to come, the tree fell down onto her fence, adding even more to her bill.

“I wasn’t expecting my fence, and I certainly didn’t budget for an additional $600,” she said.

Cooper is now looking at filing criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. 

“He needs to be shamed and embarrassed that he’s doing this to people who are trying to support his business,” Cooper said.

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