Call Collett: Dog trainer explains why she took money, never showed for work

A Lowcountry woman says she used a popular online site to find a dog trainer, but instead of training the dog, the trainer took the money and never showed up. After trying every avenue to get her money back, she called News 2 investigator Rebecca Collett.

Lily the dog doesn’t look fierce or aggressive, but her owner says the dog can’t be trusted.

“When she gets scared she starts growling,” Darcy Burzynski explained. She said she worries about Lily eventually biting someone out of fear.

Darcy rescued Lily from a hoarder situation in Rock Hill, SC and has since been rehabilitating the pup.

“She’s obedient,” Darcy said, showing off the dog’s tricks. Darcy was looking for a trainer that could work on the aggression specifically.   She found  Erin Christine Rose  on the popular site Thumbtack.  After connecting online, Darcy paid a $300 deposit for training.

The ladies set up an initial appointment, and that’s when problems started.

“She didn’t show up and for five hours she told me she was in traffic,” Darcy said, laughing at the explanation now.

After several no-shows, Darcy asked for her money back. Erin Christine Rose agreed via text. But Darcy says weeks passed, and she never got her money back.  So Darcy filed complaints with both the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, where Rose lives and with the Mt. Pleasant police, where Darcy lives. She also filed a complaint with Thumbtack and with PayPal.   Those steps failed to produce any repercussions, and that’s when Darcy called News 2.

Initially Rose didn’t respond to our calls, so the investigative team paid her a visit at her Walterboro home.  While sitting in her driveway, she called us back with her own tale of what happened.  She said her dog died, and that’s why she missed so many appointments.  She also claims Darcy wouldn’t cooperate with her.

“I even called Thumbtack,” Rose explained.  She claims she told Thumbtack Darcy wouldn’t respond to her attempts to send Darcy a refund check.

“Thumbtack will delete your account if you’re out there screwing around and scamming people,” Rose told News 2 over the phone.  She declined a taped interview.

News 2 tried to verify this version of the story with Thumbtack.

The company sent us a statement that read, in part:

“We attempted to help the parties come to a resolution and removed the pro from our site upon investigating the incident.”

Thumbtack also provided tips for hiring.

Darcy doesn’t expect to ever get her money back, but she wanted to share her story so others will be more cautious when going online to hire help.

She said she wished she looked more into Erin Christine Rose’s background.  According to reports filed with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Department, one former client told investigators Rose lost the client’s dog.  Another client filed a report when she picked her dog up to find the dog with a large gash and malnourished.

To do your own research before hiring someone isn’t hard.  You can start by contacting your local police and requesting any police reports with that person’s name. There may be a charge for those records. You can also search online, public records with the court.  To start, select the county. Once you select the county you want to search, you can search records by last name or by business name. Often records will show any judgments against that person. Sometimes court documents with a history of the situation will be available online as well.

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