A grieving widow who contacted a Perthshire building company to create a memorial garden claims they have abandoned the job and left an unsafe mess.
Claire Best, 32, of Glasgow, contacted First Response Garden and Tree Care Services after spotting their advert on Facebook.
She said she has now paid £2,780 but been left with a rubble and rubbish-strewn mess.
The mother-of-three had wanted a memorial garden for she and her children, Marc, 15, Abi, nine and two-year-old Logan, after losing her husband, Steven, 35, to throat cancer in June last year.
However, she claims Methven-based First Response Garden and Tree Care Services downed tools on November 2 and have not been back to complete the work.
She said: “As a family we are struggling to come to terms with what has happened – never mind having to come to terms with this as well.
“I wanted to create a safe place for the children to play and a memorial with a tree in the centre where we could scatter Steven’s ashes. But the garden is a mess and I have no idea if the work will ever be completed.”
Mrs Best continued: “We’d moved into a house with a garden – the first we have ever had – and I wanted to spend a bit of money to make things nice for the children.
“The firm told me I’d have to pay for the materials up front for the work to start. The job included decking in the back garden, a memorial garden and a new fence in front of a dwarf wall.”
She said she paid £1,600 by bank transfer and then another £900 in cash.
“I later paid £280 for decking spindles and a handrail, which hadn’t been in the original quote,” she added.
“I keep expecting the workers to come back but there’s no sign. I have sent numerous texts and left messages and I’ve now been blocked by them on Facebook.
“They’ve done some of the decking and fence and planted the tree but that’s about it. The garden is not safe to use and it’s a mess.
“The children can’t play outside and I have no memorial either. We have been through so much – I can’t afford to hire another company to sort this out.”
Mrs Best’s uncle, Douglas Webster, 52, described the actions of First Response as “a scam.”
“This company basically try to get as many likes as possible on Facebook,” he commented.
“The main thing we want is to get the money back for my niece but I feel that will never happen. However, we want people to know about this company.”
Perth and Kinross Council’s trading standards department confirmed they are aware of other incidents involving the company.
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns regarding a company called First Response Garden and Tree Care Services and can confirm that we have received a number of inquiries about the business.
“We would advise any member of the public who is hiring a contractor to do any work for them to ensure that they use someone who has either been recommended to them by someone they know or a company/contractor who is registered with the council’s better business partnership scheme.”
The Courier visited the home of Dean Dixon, who owns First Response Garden and Tree Services at his home address in Methven. A man answered the door but declined to comment.