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Noblesville woman can’t get door-to-door salesman to replace dead tree

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- A homeowner who bought a tree from a man who knocked on her door says she can't get him to honor his own warranty.

Betty Armstrong contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers for help after she stopped getting any response from the owner of Chip's Complete Tree Nursery. Armstrong said he stopped by her house in March and sold her the tree off of a flatbed truck.

"I saw this river birch and I thought, 'Oh, that would be just wonderful,'" Armstrong said. "I actually helped (him) plant the tree."

Despite being a frequent gardener who planted a tree of the same type in her backyard, Armstrong said she hasn't been able to get the tree to bloom and believes it may have been dead or dying when she bought it.

"I kept waiting for the leaves to come and the signs of life and ... nothing ," Armstrong said.

The owner gave Armstrong a receipt that says it includes a one year replacement, as well as his business card, but his card only has an Illinois phone number and no address. She says at first when she reached him by phone, he claimed he would be back in the neighborhood in a couple of weeks and would stop by, but that hasn't happened.

"It’s been frustrating and it’s been disappointing. ... I just feel like (I've) been taken advantage of and I don’t want other people to have to put up with that," Armstrong said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers couldn't find any publicly available complaints against Chip's Complete Tree Nursery with the Indiana Attorney General's Office or Better Business Bureau. The BBB website lists a company called Chip's Complete Tree Service as out of business in Illinois after letters bounced back in 2016.

Local BBB CEO Tim Maniscalo said that it is very important to check out a door-to-door sales company before you buy from them, especially to make sure they have a valid address and website in case you need to get in touch with them later.

"They may give a guarantee but if you can’t get a hold of them, if they don’t have an address, really that guarantee means nothing," Maniscalo said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers tried to get in touch with Chip's Complete Tree Nursery at the phone number listed on the business card Armstrong received, but no one picked up and the voicemail inbox was full. A text was not returned.

If you run into a situation like this, you should file a complaint with both the Indiana Attorney General and BBB.

Armstrong said she hoped to get her money back and also wanted to get the word out to try to help other people who are approached by salespeople in their neighborhood.

"If I would’ve realized, I think, that this was an out of state drive by, I would’ve been less likely to even entertain the idea," Armstrong said.

If you have a problem you'd like CBS4 Problem Solvers to consider, contact us at 317-677-1544 or

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