More victims complain of tree service not finishing job

BBB warns residents about local lawn care company

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More people who paid Hilton Long Lawn and Tree Service to do work in their yards are telling the I-TEAM he took their money and never completed the work.

Since Jean Broxton told News4Jax two weeks ago that she paid Hilton Long $2,900 for work that was never completed, two more women came forward with similar stories.

After the first story aired, Hilton Long also called News4Jax to say he wanted to tell his side of the story, but then backed out. 

Helen Hyers and Linda Milford said they weren't surprised see Hilton Long Lawn and Tree Service on the news -- accused of not finishing work for 81-year- old Jean Broxton in Oceanway. 

"I thought, 'Oh man, he did it again,'" Hyers said.

Hyers said she hired Long in 2014.

"He came. He gave me a good offer to cut the tree down. I said, 'Fine,'" Hyers said. "They were doing a great job and we were all standing in the backyard and everything, and next thing you know a branch came down and they could not control it and it went in my carport, and made a hole.

Hyers said Long only patched the damage and never replaced the panel.

Milford lived across the street and asked Long to remove a limb, but that removal took out a JEA power line.

"I called him several times trying to get a reimbursement from him. He kept assuring me that they were going to take care of it," Milford said. "Finally, they quit returning any of my calls."

A meticulous bookkeeper, Milford still has the $747 JEA bill she paid to restore her power. She said she asked Long for the money, and even contacted his insurance company and kept that document. The company told her that Long never filed the claim.

"We've been living on Social Security. It's hard when you're out that much money," Milford said.

Milford took to Facebook to post a complaint, but says she was shortly blocked from his page. After seeing the News4Jax story, she filed a new complaint with the BBB.

Long's business address is a Northside home with a no trespassing sign, so the I-TEAM couldn't go to the door to ask for his reaction.

The I-TEAM also checked back in with Broxton, who found huge piles of debris still littering her yard. She said a firefighter, neighbors and family have helped to clean some of it.

She said never heard from the Long or his business.

"I didn't expect to, really," Broxton said.

She wants as many people as possible to hear her story.

"I trust in God. He's brought me through this far," Broxton said. "Whatever happens, I didn't deserve this."

Late Friday afternoon, a man identifying himself as Hilton Long called the newsroom and said:

"This has hurt me more than anybody. I've been in business 10 years and there is always going to be a dissatisfied customer, but I always try to satisfy them."

The I-TEAM checked Long's background and found a marijuana arrest at his business address last year.

Long's company currently has a Better Business Bureau grade of F. The I-TEAM is waiting to hear from the state of Florida about the status of his business license and if any official complaints have been filed.

Click here to view the BBB's comprehensive list of tips for hiring a tree service.

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