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Richmond residents send warning over landscaping 'scam'

Brian Flagel and his neighbour in west Richmond claim they handed over almost $2,500 for landscaping work that barely got off the ground

Richmond residents are sending out a warning, after claiming they were duped by door-to-door landscaper.

Brian Flagel and his neighbour, who asked not to be named, said they both received a visit a few weeks ago from a man calling himself Chris Hawryluk, AKA Slawko, who was using a business card under the name “Pro Pruners.”

Flagel and his neighbour - who live near Hugh Boyd Field on Palmer and Pendlebury roads, respectively – claim that Hawryluk came to their doors offering to do some landscaping work around their yards.

Flagel said that he gave the landscaper a total of $1,500 to carry out the likes of tree pruning, soil replacement and shrub removal/replacement.

However, after doing a few hours of pruning work and having being etransferred the full $1,500 to buy the aforementioned soil and shrubs, Flagel said Hawryluk has gone missing.

"Broken foot" turns to "sore back"

All he received from the would-be landscaper was a text, about two weeks ago, claiming that he had broken his foot.

Since then, “Pro Pruners” has been blanking Flagel’s multiple calls and text messages.

“It’s awfully embarrassing but I simply have to let people know,” Flagel told the Richmond News.

“He’s making a grand or so off me and he’s probably doing this multiple times a week so I needed to let people know.

“I think he did about $300 worth of work. But he was very knowledgable and believable so he convinced me to etransfer him the money.”

Flagel said there is, of course, no website or record of Pro-Pruners, adding that the landscaper seems to “change phone numbers quite a lot.”

He said the man calling himself Chris is well-spoken, in his 50s, about five feet, 11 inches tall and about 170 pounds in weight.

“He gave me a whole spiel on what he was going to do. He showed up one day, worked for two or three hours, ripped out a couple of things, pruned a couple of things and showed up another day for an hour or so,” added Flagel.

“I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s when I started talking to the neighbours and found out one of them had almost exactly the same experience.”

His neighbour down the street on Pendlebury, told the News that they, too, were promised a whole bunch of landscaping work by Hawryluk and had transferred $900 for new soil, plants and pruning.

“He said it was going to take a day or two and he did reposition some of the plants and pulled out some ground cover,” said Flagel’s neighbour.

“He did a couple of hours here and there and there was lots of coming and going. But we never saw any new soil or plants.”

May 2 was the last time Flagel’s neighbour saw the “Pro Pruner” with her being told that, this time, he had a “sore back” and that his doctor was saying he needs to take time off.

Both Flagel and his neighbour went to the RCMP but say they were told that it was a civil matter and there wasn’t much they could do.

Flagel said he got the impression from police that he and his neighbour were on a long list of “customers” from Hawryluk.

“Unfortunately he does just enough work to eliminate possible criminal charges,” claimed Flagel.

“It becomes a civil matter because he has failed to deliver on an unwritten contract. Good luck with that in court.”

The News made several attempts to contact Hawryluk on the number on his business card and left a message on his voicemail. He has yet to reply.

Richmond RCMP did have some advice for people thinking about using the services of people who show up at your door.

Police say:

Never pay for services in advance

Ask for multiple references

Check the Better Business Bureau

Google name of individual or company or contact email or given phone number to see if others share similar reports

Compare service to actual costs of legitimate or long-standing companies in the same service sector.