At this time of the year there are businesses in the area cold calling on residents offering to prune trees. Many of these are legitimate businesses that will do a good job for a fair rate, but there is no compulsory regulation in this area so it can attract less reputable businesses. NHW advice is to to ignore cold calling approaches - giving them your business only encourages them to continue the practice of cold calling. If you want a service or to pursue a claim for something approach a reputable company directly yourself. However, not everybody is in a position to do this but anyone tempted to buy this service at the door should exercise extreme caution and take some simple precautions:
- Only deal with businesses that have completed work satisfactorily for friends or neighbours - in many instances other people's experience is the best guide to what you might expect from a business in terms of cost, quality and customer satisfaction
- Ensure that the operators have some appropriate qualifications for the work they are offering and are accredited eg Aboricultural Association - Approved Contractor
- Ensure that you have contact details of the business offering the service. If there are no contact details on the transport they use or on a business card do not employ them. A mobile telephone number alone is not enough to signal a legitimate, reliable business.
- As an extra precaution you could note the registration number of their vehicle
- Agree the price in advance but only pay on satisfactory completion of the work
- Ensure they are clear what is included in the price in advance, ideally in writing. For example, does the job include disposal of prunings?
- Get an estimate of how long the work will take
- Ensure they will provide a written receipt
If you follow these guidelines you should minimise the possibility of conflict arising but if it does and you feel threatened you can use the police 999 emergency number to summon assistance. Threatening behaviour is a criminal offence. If you are unhappy with the service you can raise it with the local authority trading standards office, but they will only be able to pursue it if they can track down the business concerned - hence the advice above.
Bottesford Parish Neighbourhood Watch
Mob: 0772 5636626