Have you ever had to return something that you paid for and were not happy with? To Amazon? To the high street?
As much as it’s a pain to have to pack and send something back it’s nothing compared to the stress, heartache and time sucking misery that can come from dealing with a cowboy tree surgeon. Hiring an unqualified, uninsured tree surgeon can quickly and without warning expose you to a bottomless pit of hidden costs.
Yes it’s really tempting when you get the knock on the door and that kind offer to ‘prune’ your tree. This is often their key into your life, not just your garden. When it’s open it’s very hard to get it shut.
You can expose yourself to:
- Financial shock and unplanned expense
- Injury to people on your property
- Damage to your neighbour’s or 3rd party property
- Damage to your trees or garden that could take years to heal or may never recover
- The need to hire another tree surgeon to do a proper job of what’s left
‘How a cowboy tree surgeon conned me’
The most common complaints relating to cowboy tree surgeons are:
- Invented work – these rogue traders specialise in ‘creating’ tree problems you don’t have – they frighten you with made up on the spot nonsense, typically about fungus, rotting branches and spreading roots
- Dangerous practise – they endanger themselves and others around them with inappropriate chainsaws and safety equipment whilst on your property
- Extortionate pricing and price changes – typically quoting £200 then charging £1200. At some point you’re likely to be intimidated to pay up
- Flouting of the law – relating to conservation, preservation and Health and Safety
In short – unqualified, uninsured tree surgeons don’t tend to care about you or your neighbours.
The true cost of dealing with a cowboy tree surgeon
Deal with these rogue traders and you could be in for:
- Reporting and clearing up of illegal or inappropriate poisons or engine oil poured into your soil
- The headache and cost of dealing with utility companies. If you see the van unexpectedly driving off there’s a good chance you may have some explaining to do to the water or electricity company
- Fines from the local council relating to conservation and preservation
- Legal bills for damage to nearby vehicles, pedestrians and property
- The hassle and cost of replacement tree and garden services
- The psychological scars of being forced to accept unreasonable terms
All these things affect your welfare and often involve the law.
Rogue tree surgeons and your legal duty of care
For your own good you need to make sure that you’re dealing with a bona fide, real, competent tree surgeon or tree service. If you don’t you could find yourself legally responsible for the mess and damage caused.
If you control the premises you have duties under the Health and safety at Work Act. In particular, there is the duty to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that people are not exposed to risk to their health and safety.
The law and the Occupiers Liability Acts also shifts some responsibility to you as a land and tree owner to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which he or she could reasonably foresee may result in harm or injury.
Rogue tree surgeons and your psychological care
Too many victims of rogue tree surgeons or tree services have said in court that they felt threatened and abused in their own homes. Some are too shocked or embarrassed to even share what happened.
Yes, this is a worst case scenario. We’ve written this to help you prepare because these rogue tree surgeons or cowboy tree and garden services have done it all before. They are practised at this. They have the smooth talk answers for all your questions. They know how to demand your money. What they don’t have is proper training or insurance.
To protect you and to help you avoid the hidden costs and paying twice for tree work in your home, garden or business we’ve put together a checklist. This checklist: 4 things to look for in a tree surgeon, before you book will help you choose between a reputable tree surgeon and a cowboy.
Enjoy your garden safely.