Investigations

Woman says she was ripped off by tree removal company

Kumba Saho thought she was getting a good deal on a tree removal service.

She was trying to help a friend, a widowed veteran in poor health, when she called Eckard's Tree Removal.

"The tree was dead and she was scared for the tree not to fall on her house or onto the neighbor's house," Saho said of her neighbor.

Saho says Eckard's owner Brad Eckard told her he could do the job for $1,200. She said she signed a contract and gave a down payment of $700 in June, but then Eckard disappeared.

"He never calls me back or texts me back," she said.

Weeks went by before Eckard finally sent a text.

"I will not be able to do it. You probably have to find someone else. I said OK, I need my money," Saho said. "He said I will mail you a check tonight."

The check never showed up, so Saho contacted the abc27 Investigators.

Court papers allege Eckard has been taking down payments for tree services and not doing the work for at least eight months since October 2017. He's accused of defrauding at least 11 people out of $17,600.

Eckard is charged in Dauphin and Cumberland counties with counts including theft by deception, deceptive business practices, and forgery.

He wouldn't talk on camera about the charges, but he told abc27 he would send Saho a check for $700.

Sago still has not received the check. She ended up paying another company $1,600 to remove the tree.

According to court papers, Eckard told customers he couldn't do the work because he had been in an accident or one of his children was sick

He's due in Cumberland County Court next month.


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