Donald R. Cato Landscape Consulting Complaint - Theft of Deposit for Landscaping

Review by ctwtlw on 2006-12-29
LONGWOOD, FLORIDA -- My complaint is with the following company or individual as I am not sure his company is legitimate:

Donald R. Cato Landscape Consultant
321 White Oak Drive
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Phone (407) 832-9268 (407) 830-7752

Mr. Cato contracted to perform specific landscape and re-sodding work and ended stealing over $1,231.55 from me for work not completed and plants not delivered and planted. Specifically, we contracted with Donald R. Cato on November 17, 2006 to clear away our old sod, prepare the yard for new sod, lay new sod, and landscape our front yard with pre-selected and pre-paid plants and bushes and trees. There were many problems and delays with stupid excuses including:

1: Originally contracted and paid in advance for Mr. Cato to provide the labor to clear away old sod. He was unable to do so and forced me to re-contract elsewhere to secure labor to so a job he was already paid to do.
he also failed to give me any credit for the $224.00 in labor costs I had prepaid him.

2: He then failed to secure the sod itself forcing me to contact a sod supplier and have the sod delivered myself at additional costs.

3: I also prepaid Mr. Cato to prepare the yard and install the new sod. Again, he was unable to produce the labor required to so that I pre-paid and he was forced to install the sod himself. He then tried to collect fees for installation over and above what I agreed to and contracted for as he states his labor costs are greater than the laborers he was UNABLE to produce.

4: For several weeks, he indicated he had selected and pre-paid with my money all of the plants we had selected to go into our new yard. After multiple delays and excuses, I asked for the names of the nurseries where he did so. After contacting 2 nurseries where he indicated he had selected and pre-paid for all of our plants, totaling $1,231.55, both nurseries indicated they had never heard of Don Cato and he did not order anything from them whatsoever. He in affect stole the money from us!

This man called Donald R. Cato is a thief and a crook and should be stopped. He has now wiped-out all of my savings and left us with a ruined yard. Please alert people in Central Florida to stay away from anyone doing work for or as Donald R. Cato or Don Cato, Sr. This man stole our savings and will not refund our money or install our plants.

What I want to have happen is a full refund of the $1,231.55 I paid Mr. Cato for all of the plants that were never ordered and never delivered/installed. I gave him a check for a total of $1,864.55 on November 17, 2006 and I had to pay an additional $1, 185.00 for Sod and an additional $350.00 for labor that I already paid Mr. Cato for doing.

If you need additional information, I may be reached at any of the telephone numbers given below. PLEASE HELP US!
Comments:1 Replies - Latest reply on 2006-12-29
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2006-12-29:
First: Never pre-pay an entire project up front. You loose all leverage.

Second: If you have a contract stating what work/materials Mr. Cato was to do and receipts for the work/material you had provide, take him to small claims court. You should be able to recover the original contract cost for the non-delivered services and court costs.

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