Commissioner's Blog: Tree lopper businesses continue to flout local laws
With Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe
We have had continuing reports of tree lopper businesses harassing customers, not removing debris, damaging property or not completing work. They distribute flyers and advertise their services on Gumtree, Facebook and supermarket noticeboards. They have been spotted mostly in the northern suburbs of Perth and in Fremantle. Some businesses have been prosecuted by Consumer Protection in the past but continue to operate under a different name. See a full list in the 'Compliance Actions' section of the Consumer Protection website.
To keep consumers safe, we advise a few simple tips before deciding on which business to engage:
- Get two or three written quotes that itemise all tasks required, the agreed timeframe, who will be responsible for disposal of debris
- Check any rules associated with your council’s verge collection services if this is how the tree lopper plans to dispose of debris
- Ask to see their current liability insurance certificates – this confirms that any damage caused by them is their responsibility
- Ask to see their ABN and ID as there have been some reports of individuals using false names
- Check qualifications and their listing on websites such as Arboriculture Australia (www.arboriculture.org.au) or the Tree Guild of WA (www.treeguildwa.asn.au)
- Do an online search for reviews. Some negative reviews may be reasonable; however, if there are numerous negative reviews, this should raise a red flag. Consumer Protection has legal action pending on Sean Weinthal who uses business names including Tree Professionals and West Australian Tree Services. We strongly recommend that you do not engage his services.
When you have selected the business:
- Only commence work after you have signed an agreed contract
- Don’t pay the full amount upfront
- Make a small deposit (10%) if requested
- Get receipts for all monies paid
- Pay remaining amount only when the job has been completed to your satisfaction and according to the agreed contract.
Home owners who have experienced problems with tree loppers should contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email email@example.com.
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