Give dodgy tree loppers the chop

All Victorians – especially older people – should be wary of uninvited offers to lop trees on residential properties for cash payments.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has received a number of reports about tree loppers who door-knock to find work, then fail to finish the job or do it poorly.

Some people who have contacted CAV have alleged that tree loppers have damaged property and intimidated them into paying for sub-standard or unfinished work.

Reports have centred on Melbourne’s east – including Bayswater North, Ferntree Gully and Croydon – but Consumer Affairs Victoria urges all Victorians to be alert.

  • Be wary of tree loppers who:
  • knock on your door unexpectedly
  • suggest they have been sent by the local council or have council permits to remove trees on your property
  • offer cheap deals using words like 'for today only'
  • pressure you to accept their offer by claiming the tree is damaging property or must be removed
  • ask for cash up front
  • offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment

Before you engage someone to prune or remove a tree:

  • shop around – get recommendations from friends and family
  • consider using a qualified arborist
  • obtain written quotes and check insurance
  • make sure all necessary work – such as removing and mulching waste – is covered in the quote
  • ask for contact details of previous clients for references
  • do not sign any agreement until you are ready
  • check permit requirements with your local council before you agree to any work

Ask the council whether you need permits to chop the tree, if they know of people doing this work and whether they have given permission to particular operators. You could be fined for having trees cut down without permits.

Report suspicious activity

Elderly consumers may be more vulnerable to approaches by itinerant tree loppers.

Help protect others in your community and report suspicious activity by contacting Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or email consumer@justice.vic.gov.au.

**This media release was provided by Consumer Affairs Victoria.**