Roma and Anthony Sapijonis of Etobicoke say they feel scammed after a Toronto landscaper contractor accepted more than $500 cash to prepare and re-seed their front lawn, which remains a weedy mess.
“He’s not a doctor or lawyer, he doesn’t deserve that kind of money,” said Roma, frustrated that the de-thatching and re-seeding didn’t take hold last month.
The soil used to root the grass is designed for gardens, not to reseed lawns.
The retired couple say they were approached at their door by a sales representative from Five Star Lawn Care run by Mike Frustaci.
His website banner reads “sending students to school one lawn at a time” because it utilizes college and university students to sign up new customers and service lawns.
In an online recruiting video, several young people boast about how much money they can earn working at Five Star: one man claims he “earned $300 to $500 a day” with the company.
The Sapijonises say they called Five Star repeatedly to complain when the grass didn’t germinate.
They say Frustaci refused to give his last name when they threatened legal action in small claims court, at which point they say Frustaci hung up the telephone.
Global News approached Frustaci to ask why he didn’t respond to the couple’s frequent calls. Frustaci said he did return to their home at one point to add additional lawn seed and try to deal with the complaints. He admitted he did stop accepting the couple’s phone calls.
Following an interview with Global News, Frustaci went back to the couple’s home, apologized for the service they received, offered to re-seed the lawn and provide a $200 refund.
Global News intends to follow up and see if the work is actually performed.
Roma Sapijonis says she is unlikely ever to buy lawn care services at her door again after her experience with Five Star. She says she wants to warn others about the importance of checking out a company before paying for services.
“You feel like a fool and I don’t want others to feel the same way.”