Erika – Nov 22, 2020
This fertilizer scam crew is still at it. They spent Saturday 11.21.20 in Palo Alto, Calif., running pretty much the same racket that has been described by others here. Dumped dirt in two yards in our neighborhood with a promise of a lush lawn to come. There were plenty of red flags: No hard estimate. Couldn’t provide a referral customer because they respect their customers’ privacy. Offered to do a quick demo. A fee of $10 per bag of fertilizer. We’ll start with 20 bags, they say, and then they’ll know how much they’ll need altogether.
That “altogether” estimate comes only after the project is hundreds of dollars over budget. The friendly crew chief becomes slightly surly and aggressive as the extent of the scam sinks in with the homeowner.
Two updates on what’s been reported here already: The ring leader now goes by the name Nicholas (don’t know if that’s his real name or if he’s using that name today or if there are several crews and crew leaders).
The scam operation as of 11.21.20 was answering the phone at 559-710-4442 (Fresno, Calif., area code). I suppose they’ll change that number now.
The check for payment was made out to Marlon Dinicio and cashed almost immediately.
I’ve attached the business card that should have you running in the other direction.
Joel – Jul 16, 2020
Same damn thing just happened to my mom on 07/14/20 in Jackson Ca. zipcode 95642. 3 guys showed up to her house. Of course she had some lawn not getting watered in one corner due to bad sprinklers which I had not had time to visit and fix. Of course she took the opportunity for them to fix the sprinklers. They fixed two sprinkler heads and then convinced her the lawn needed fertilizing, seeding, and mulch. They spread a bunch of lousy dirt on the lawn and were only there for less than an hour. They invoiced her $900 and all I have is a name; Marlon Dionicio and a phone number (559) 666-5550 which no one answers. This was a total scam! These guys need to be taken down. I could replace the whole lawn for $900.
Carla – Feb 12, 2020
I had a similar experience as “bigfil” above. I was left w/ a receipt w/ Marlon Dionicio’s name on it and his phone number. Shortly after they left my house I called the phone number on the receipt to get clarification regaring their watering instructions. Marlon answered right away. I spoke to him in Spanish and my questions regarding watering were answered. I was told that within 3 weeks my weeds wld be gone and that in place of the weeds I wld have a beautiful lawn. When it became clear that was NOT happening (2-1/2 weeks later, on 1-22-20) I began to call Marlon. He did not answer. I then began to leave him text messages in Spanish, again I received no response. I also left him a message in English from a different phone number (on 2-8-20), again I received no response. The phone number he left me is (559) 319-2082. The 559 area code suggest Marlon lives in Fresno. I believe all of us who have been duped by Marlon should call his phone number daily, if for no other reason as an irritant by the honest customers he and his associates have scamed.
Randy – Nov 22, 2020
Pretty much same as above report.
Marlon Dionicio scammed me exactly as was shown..
On Thursday, 12/12/19 I was duped by 3 men who claimed to be landscapers working for a neighbor nearby. The first man, “Rudy,” appeared at my door, said he noticed that my front yard was overgrown with weeds and offered his services to clean up and apply mulch for our lawn for weed suppression. I initially declined I do the gardening, and he offered to demonstrate in a small area of the garden how much better the mulch would look. A second guy appeared, identifying himself as “Edgar” and he said would sell me the mulch at $10 a bag and not charge for labor. When I asked for an estimate on how many bags I’d need for my front yard, he said he wouldn’t know until he could see how everything looked after the demo. He however insisted the mulch we use likely cost us $1000, more expensive and inferior to the mulch he was selling.
Cashed the check as soon as they left my residence.
Contacted the Roseville Police department and they stated it was a civil matter even though this was obviously a scam.
Please do not fall prey to this…
Hi Bigfil. Did you ever come up with an address for the business or for Marlon Dionicio? Needless to say, I haven’t had any luck.
Victim Location 94024
Total money lost $400
Type of a scam Home Improvement
On Sunday, 1/27/19 I was duped by two men who claimed to be landscapers working for a neighbor nearby. The first man, "Rudy," appeared at my door, said he noticed that my front yard was overgrown with poppies and offered his services to clean up and apply mulch for our garden for weed suppression. I initially declined as we have a gardener, and he offered to demonstrate in a small area of the garden how much better the mulch would look. A second guy appeared, identifying himself as "Edgar" and he said would sell me the mulch at $9 a bag and not charge for labor. When I asked for an estimate on how many bags I’d need for my front yard, he said he wouldn’t know until he could see how everything looked after the demo. He however insisted the mulch we use likely cost us $300, more expensive and inferior to the mulch he was selling. I have actually signed up for wood chip delivery, and admittedly feeling sorry for them for working on a Sunday, I thought I could help them out and agreed to the demo.
Unfortunately, I was in my home and didn’t see that another four men arrived and proceeded to "clean up" our native garden. They removed weeds and trimmed shrubs (poorly), saying that it was necessary to before applying the mulch. Rudy assured me the labor was free, they were only charging for the mulch at which point I asked again for an estimate. Again, Rudy refused to answer saying he didn’t know yet. I know I should’ve asked them to leave then, but I think these guys knew to guilt me into feeling bad that they’d done all this work for me that I figured I would buy some mulch for their time. Well, in the end, they claimed to use 120 bags of mulch and attempted to charge me over $1000! Again, I only expected a "demo" and instead found that they’d proceeded to cover my entire bed with mulch. I insisted they take it back and Rudy refused, claiming his mulch is now contaminated with my soil. Edgar returned and attempted to gaslight me, insisting I misunderstood and denied that he said anything about his mulch being cheaper than our existing wood chips. They offered to take $700, then $550. They became very hostile and claimed I was cheating them as they now have to pay the laborers for their work. They claimed the $500 "discount" would make up for misunderstanding, when in fact there was no misunderstanding; they deliberately mislead me into agreeing to a demo that wasn’t, and that I would control how many bags I would want and buy. They did not produce a contract (nor did I think I would need one as I assumed I was simply buying mulch) and I would’ve never agreed to their services and products had I known of the cost at the outset.
I refused to pay and they refused to leave until they were paid, insisting they now had to pay all the men who’d worked on my garden. I eventually I wrote them a check for $400 to leave as I was starting to feel threatened by the presence of 5 men glaring at me. When they finally left, they didn’t bother to clean up the mess they made from my garden.
I’ve since learned that this is a scam (googled "fertilizer scam") and feel pretty foolish for falling victim to it. I do not believe this "business," Rudy nor Edgar have a license and have reported them to the CSLB. There was no license number on their trucks nor on the business card they gave me.
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