Customers accuse taxidermy of running afoul

BROWNSBURG, Ind. -- As turkey hunting season approaches, the Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert about a taxidermist accused of taking customers’ money without doing the work promised.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau both show half a dozen complaints about Brownsburg Taxidermy, 9630 N State Road 267, earning the company an F rating.

“Half a dozen complaints would be something we would look at for a business of that size,” said Tim Maniscalo, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana. “When we contacted the company we didn't get a response.  It's always important if we do contact a business to give some sort of response because no response will get a bad rating for you.”

Kurt Gastel of Brownsburg dropped off his son’s largemouth bass in October 2015 to have it mounted.

“It was five pounds, 18 inches long,” said Gastel.

But a year and a half later, Gastel does not have his mount nor does he have a refund for his $100 deposit.

"I'm sure the deer carcasses he's taken are more expensive than the fish, so I'm sure a lot of people are out a lot more money than I am,” said Gastel. “So, I'm just trying to get the word out to keep other people from having to go through this."

Brownsburg Taxidermy owner Kevin McGrotty said he’s running a year behind because of health, personal and financial problems.

He plans to finish all outstanding orders before closing this fall.

“I plan to file for bankruptcy, and I’m sending out letters to my customers letting them know what’s going on,” said McGrotty. “Everyone has their panties in a wad, but I’m struggling. I’m working every day to get caught up.”

McGrotty said he’s been running his taxidermy since 2004 and has hundreds of happy customers.

“I’m planning to go back into the restaurant business after this,” said McGrotty.

Customer Kurt Gastel said he’s tried talking to McGrotty on numerous occasions about his fish mount to no avail.

Gastel said by now, his fish probably has freezer burn and will be difficult to mount successfully.

“It’s only 100 bucks, and at this point, it’s about the principle of the whole thing,” said Gastel.  “I think it’s reached a level, a year and a half later, something needs to be done.

BBB Tips on Hiring a Company To Do a Service:

  1. Track Record.   Before you hire check out the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org.  Read what previous customers have to say, and see how the businesses respond to complaints.
  2. Look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal.  BBB Accredited companies, which include a commitment to build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.
  3. Cost Comparisons.  Get at least three quotes in writing, compare the quotes based on the same specification and make sure they have the proper equipment to perform the job quoted. 
  4. References.  Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and contact them for a testimonial.
  5. Written Contract.  Do not permit work to start without a signed, written contract that includes start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done.  Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
  6. Deposits and Payment.  Do not pay large payments up front.  Stagger your payments according to work stages and do not make a final payment until the job is completed to your satisfaction.  Pay by check or credit card for added protection.  Paying by credit card provides some recourse should the job no be completed as stated in the contract.
  7. Criminal History.  Check out anyone you allow onto your property to see if they have a criminal history.  Ask the company: Do they employees undergo a background check?  Are they trained and certified?  Will they be wearing name tags and uniforms on the job?  Are the company vehicles clearly marked?
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