On Your Side: Don’t get ripped off by fly-by-night tree trimmers

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It never fails. Every spring, On Your Side gets dozens of complaints from customers who say fly-by-night tree trimmers ripped them off.

Don’t learn a lesson the hard way. Here’s advice if you decide to answer your door when there’s an offer.

Might Need a Door-to-Door License

If you live within city limits, your town might require a peddler’s or solicitors’ license. That means they can go door-to-door at certain times. Ask for proof they can be there before you listen to the sales pitch.

Do Homework Before the Handshake

You don’t want a bigger mess. Do your homework before the handshake. Google the company. Read reviews. Check for marked trucks, business cards, and a local phone number.

“It might not be people from Springfield, Branson, or Nixa who are going to be doing that work. They come from all over the place to follow the storm. You might be dealing with someone from Texas or Arkansas or anywhere that might appear on your doorstep. It’s really important to find out who they are,” said Don O’Brien with the Better Business Bureau.

Don’t Fall for High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Remember, a good deal today should be a good deal tomorrow. Get the deal in writing.

Ask for Proof of Insurance

If they don’t have insurance, you might have to foot the bill if someone gets hurt.

Pay in Thirds

Never pay in total upfront. For these jobs, pay in thirds. A deposit, another third when the job is half done, and the rest when workers finish to your satisfaction.

Get a Few Bids

If you need to remove a really big tree, get a few offers. Be wary of a lowball offer. It could amount to shoddy work or tacked-on fees.

A certified arborist should give you their ISA number. It’s usually on their business card. It’s easy to look them up using this website. Plug in their name or their number.

Verify an ISA Credential.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com