News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scam Alert: Pfraudulent Pforestry, or How the RA Covenants Process Isn't the Only Sucker's Game in Town

piglovr.jpgOur favorite correspondent, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, sends us this cautionary tale about a fraudulent tree service company currently making the rounds in Reston:

Once more, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston is donning his Paul Revere colonial tri-corner hat to alert fellow readers of this filthy "Web-log" to a shocking scandal being perpetrated in the streets of our beloved community. We do give the perps credit for an imaginative con, even if it does involve the blasphemy of taking the name of our beloved Big Brother -- er, Reston Association -- in vain.

A neighbor relayed to the Peasant that earlier this week she was approached by one of those good ol' boy tree service companies that cruise the leafy streets of our fair community looking for work. The Peasant, whose earth-toned hovel is surrounded by towering oaks, has heard his share of come-on lines over the years from these distant relatives of Jethro Bodine and Miss Elly Mae offering their services, although he does appreciate that many of these woodsmen are honest and do a dangerous job. Anyhow, Fellow Peasant Neighbor is minding her business in her front yard when a pick-up truck with a trailer big enough to carry an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank rolls to a stop in front of her house. Out steps boss man Jimmy Bob Boy.

"Ma'am, I'm on contract with the RA, and I'm going to have to write you up for a violation because of your trees," announces Jimmy Bob Boy.

Needless to say, Fellow Peasant Neighbor has not a clue what this is all about, since her trees are regularly pruned and in excellent shape.

"Yes ma'am, your trees have large limbs that could fall. I have to make a report about this to the RA. You have to get those branches removed and the tree topped off," Jimmy Bob Boy says, pacing back and forth across her property, casting an anxious eye skyward at them doggone trees that are just waiting to heave a massive oaken limb at his head, and feverishly writing his "report" that eventually will land in one of the 3,287 file cabinets at Reston World Headquarters. Not to worry, though -- salvation is as close at hand as Jimmy Bob Boy himself. "It will cost you $850 if I do it now. But I have only 20 minutes."

Fellow Peasant Neighbor calls Jimmy Bob Boy's bluff, and eventually he leaves with his crew to seek other "violators" of this obscure DRB regulation about trees whose limbs are not aligned in perfect 90-degree angles perpendicular to the trunk or whose bark shows they are genetically predisposed to one day becoming red mulch.

When Fellow Peasant Neighbor reports this shocking pfraudulent pforestry pflim-pflam to Reston World Headquarters, she is met with a shrug of indifference, since they apparently have bigger pfish to pfry. When she calls the number listed on pflim-pflam man's business card, she is greeted with a voice of utter befuddlement: "Reston Association? What's the Reston Association?"

Pfinally, we must report the delicious irony that this esteemed company's street address is -- and we couldn't make this up if we tried -- Dog Patch Lane. Yep, Jimmy Bob Boy sure gonna make his Pappy Yokum proud!

Be aware. At the same time, we all know what happens to people who run afoul of the DRB. At a minimum, this company will be forced to reprint its business card using one of four approved earth tones.



  1. Before you let anyone work on your trees you should ask to see their insurance and bond paperwork. It does help weed out the frauds. If they hem and haw, that's probably just some words they heard thrown around once so had them printed on their cards.

  2. As with most property-related work, best way to find a reputable tree company is to check around with neighbors for recommendations. A couple of other red flags, besides questionable insurance and bond papers, that will help you spot shady operations: they pressure you to do the job right now because "we're in the neighborhood on another job" or "your tree is ready to topple over". Or they have some bizarre payment scheme. One such example was when I was asked to pay half in cash and half by check made out to one of the guys in the crew. Needless to say, I didn't hire them.

  3. The cops call them "woodchucks." They prey on the elderly with tales of impending doom. Then do little or no work for outrageous prices.

    Washington Consumer Checkbook is associated with Consumer Reports. They haven't steered me wrong in selecting a contractor.

  4. by continuing to refer to the "boss man" as "jimmy bob boy", you are showing your true colors ...

  5. well -- the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston was showing his true colors...

  6. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonOctober 12, 2009 at 7:37 PM

    Don't know what you think my true colors are, but I assure you they are a DRB approved earth-toned shade!

  7. Redaction is for Wimps!

  8. Name Redacted,



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