Sometime in June or July, I noticed little nicks on my oak tree in the backyard. This tree is almost two years old, 8 feet tall, and quite firmly rooted. I called the company's owner to ask him to ask his employees to be a little more careful around it. He asked me to put some bricks around it in a circle so they'd stay away. I did.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that the tree was all brown. My husband cut off a small twig and saw that there was no green in it - the tree had died. I looked at the bottom of the tree and saw that there was one big gouge out of it, in addition to a few other nicks that had been cut in the tree, probably by getting the trimmer too close. I'm really angry about it for several reasons - most importantly, we planted that tree in honor of our baby that died. My husband busted his hump to plant that tree on the one-year anniversary of our baby's death. Also, of the 5 teeny tiny trees that we had (we built on a clean lot) that was the one I was most looking forward to seeing grow. Now I have two trees and a dead one.
I told the owner about it. He came to look at the tree and blamed the drought we've been having. I told him I'd have a few other people look at it, and sent him on his way. I talked to my husband that night and he said that he'd watered the tree at least once every two weeks, and we had a drought last year and it lasted. Then I consulted a botanist and two gardeners that said that even if we had been in a monsoon, the gouge is large enough to have killed the tree. The botanist said that the tree might have been stressed by the drought and the gouge could have been the final push - he also said that putting bricks over the roots of a young tree will kill the roots. I e-mailed the lawn guy and let him know all of this.
He came back to my house and basically then told me that I was trying to scam him. He said that people drive by his truck all the time, see the sign, then stop and say that his employees sent a rock into their windshield and try to get him to pay for it. He said he's tired of that stuff, then looked at me. I got seriously angry about this - if I were trying to scam him, I'd be demanding cash now or even trying to get him to pay for the crepe myrtles. Or hell, I've got a cracked windshield as does everyone in my state, so if I really wanted to scam him, I'd throw that in too... I was willing to write the crepe myrtles off as accidents, but the oak tree is downright carelessness.
Short story... I let the owner know that I'd accept the retail price of the oak tree taken off of our current balance, which is $130, or he could buy me a new tree since I'm sure it's cheaper for him since he can probably buy wholesale. He said he'd take $75 off of our balance, which would nowhere near make me whole for the things he's done. Is it worth it to go to small claims court or file a complaint with the state licensing board over $55, or should I just take the $75?