I contracted with Paramount Landscaping to aerate, top-dress, and overseed my front lawn for a price of $467.14 ($413.40 + HST). The contract was signed and full amount paid April 12, 2012. (The cheque #225 cleared my bank on April 16.)
No one came to the property until May 14, when two men from another company arrived at about 4:30pm. (Apparently Paramount had sub-contracted to a third party.) One of the men went over the whole lawn with the aerator. The other hand shovelled top soil onto some small damaged patches along the property line (left over from sewer repairs next door), but 95% of the lawn got no top-soil. Then this second man pushed a spreader around the lawn with grass seed. They finished, loaded the spreader and aerator back in their trucks and left by 5pm.
The aeration and overseeding we asked for were done satisfactorily, as was the patch repair (which we hadn't asked for), but the top-dressing was not done at all except for the repaired patches. (Top dressing is the process of applying a thin layer -1/2" to 1" - of topsoil and/or compost over the lawn, and raking it into the existing grass.)
No one from Paramount was present during the work, nor did anyone from Paramount inspect the work afterwards.
I assumed this was a mis-communication between Paramount and this third party sub-contractor -and called Paramount right away. (My contact at Paramount was Jeff, Sales Manager.) He promised to talk to "his operations person" and get back to me, but didn't call back After a couple of days I called him again, and we repeated this pattern for several weeks: I call, he promises to look into it with the operations manager and get back to me, he doesn't call back, I call again, et cetera.
Jeff did stop by after a few calls to look at the lawn, and agreed that there had been no topsoil spread. At no point did the operations manager inspect the subcontracted work, despite my repeated requests he do so.
So I paid over $450 for half an hour's work by two men, plus about $20 worth of seed & soil, and the primary part of the job we contracted for was never done at all.
UPDATE after Paramount's reply: Note that it took Paramount over two years to reply to my review (August 2013 to September 2015). Perhaps if they had returned my repeated phone calls two years ago, we could have avoided the review entirely. The facts they quote are wrong: The lawn is not 5000 sq. ft. as they claim, but just under 1200 sq. ft. (they only were contracted for the front lawn, and never went into the back). Again, had anyone from Paramount actually been here, they might have noticed the difference in size. And as someone who has had a lawn for many years, I know the difference between Top Dressing and Over-Seeding. (I have a spreader and overseed myself on a regular basis.) The contract was done after long discussion with Paramount's sale man and I specified exactly what I wanted. If it should have cost 4x as much, he should have quoted 4x as much. (Although given that my lawn is only 1/4 the size Paramount claims, I'd guess he did quote correctly.)
This is the only negative review of a tradesman I've eve left, but my rating of zero stands.