Commissioner's blog: Tree loppers come out of the woodwork
Toppled trees and fallen branches are a regular sight around Perth following high winds and thunderstorms, meaning winter is usually a busy time for the arborist industry.
Hiring a tree-lopper or a tradesperson for any job should be a hassle-free experience, which is why consumers should exercise caution and research the businesses before engaging their services.
Consumer Protection received 55 enquiries and 18 complaints about tree loppers in the past 12 months, mostly related to operators not using due care and skill.
Even though we continue to prosecute rogue traders who do the wrong thing, consumers should be aware that a common way some businesses flout the rules and fly under the radar is by operating under different business names.
It is therefore vital that consumers are discerning when employing tree-loppers and other tradespeople, and be aware of their rights before handing over any money. This can sometimes be as simple as searching the internet for consumer reviews.
If you receive a flyer or respond to an advertisement, be mindful that the discounts offered, (ie. cheaper for cash or for pensioners) could turn out to be more expensive.
If you have invited the tradie just for a quote and not to carry out the work, then you are entitled to a cooling-off period, meaning you can cancel the contract with no penalty if you change your mind.
We strongly recommend getting multiple quotes and only pay a small deposit if you have to, as paying the full amount puts you at risk of having little bargaining power if difficulties arise with the work.
Ensure there is a clear understanding about what the quote is to include, for example grinding to below ground level as opposed to leaving a tree stump visible.
You should also ask to see their ID to check they are who they say they are, and ask to sight their current insurance liability certificates, so that you can confirm whether any damage caused by them is their responsibility.
Home owners who have experienced problems with tree loppers should contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Penny Lipscombe, Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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