Beware The Tree Removal Scam

I’ve been seeing a lot of ads all over Facebook claiming that for a certain fee they can remove any tree you want. They claim they will come to your home and – with no need to touch the stump or roots – remove it from your yard entirely, leaving nothing behind but a clean yard with no trace of the tree ever having been there.

I’m writing this article because I know about a very similar scam happening in my neighbourhood right now, and people are falling for it! Be careful who you trust online – especially on Facebook – as many of these scammers have malicious intent.

The first step to avoiding mistakes is knowing what signs to look out for so here are some things to consider when looking at an ad like this: 

  1. Are they an official company? If you visit their website, do you see the .com or .org after their name instead of a dot-com and official company name? The lack of an official company name is one sign that this isn’t a legitimate tree removal service.
  2. Do they have references? How many branches/trees have they removed in the past? What kind of trees did they remove them from? You want to know as much about your potential business partners as possible before giving them access to your yard and allowing them to drill holes in your prized oak tree!
  3. Is there contact information available on their site – an address for how tall should we be able to provide all necessary contact information including price estimates? A .com or .org after their name is a good sign that they are a legitimate business, but it doesn’t mean you can remove all doubt.
  4. How much do they charge? The price should be right upfront – how many branches/trees will they remove and for what fee? If the deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
  5. What kind of tree removal equipment do they have access to? Do you want someone coming onto your property with just a chainsaw and a handsaw if you have an old oak tree? You want to know at least what types of equipment may be used so you know what potential damage could occur during the process – size trees have been known to break chainsaws and cause injuries to the tree removers.
  6. Do they have liability insurance? If you are asking people to climb on your roof and drill holes in your property, you want to know they have insurance! The last thing you want is for someone to get hurt or damage property during their work – that will surely cost you far more than just hiring an official company with all of their permits, liabilities, and equipment ready to go!
  7. Do you get to watch the work being done? You want to know that you can trust their word and that they will abide by your wishes. If they say they’ll remove a tree entirely, leave nothing behind but dirt, and charge $100 for doing so without you watching them do it, then this may not be the business for you!
  8. Are there any other details about what kind of trees will be removed or how much access is needed? Some companies may ask for more information than others – like having to put up safety barriers around the entire property. Be sure if someone asks for additional fees it’s because they need them or are required by law (example: permits).
  9. Does their policy sound fair? There should be a clear, understandable policy that can be found on their website or provided to you before any work is done. Be sure it’s easy to find and completely understandable – if you’re not paying someone to do something, then why would they require a signature?
  10. Are you comfortable with the method of removal? Find out what kind of chemicals they will use (if any) or how many times they may reschedule or cancel before work begins. If these are only minor details, then this may not be an issue for your business relationship; however, if there are serious stipulations in place no one wants to deal with, then this just isn’t worth pursuing.

That may seem like a lot of questions but these are all things anyone looking for this service should be considered before appointing someone as your tree removal expert. Whether it’s your prized Oaktree or one of the scraggly pines in the corners of your yard, expect some hard questions when hiring a tree removal service – especially if you see an ad online promising no stumps left behind!