Beware of tree services scams

Published Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Residents are being advised not to respond to various flyers and leaflets offering tree services, to avoid potential scams.

The news follows recent incidents where customers responding to tree services flyers were victims of rogue traders. In one incident, a resident was quoted a low price for tree and garden work only to receive a final bill for an extortionate amount - which included much more for garden waste disposal - way beyond the quoted price.

Councillor Kate Lymer, Executive Councillor for Public Protection and Enforcement and SCAMbassador said “A spate of recent incidents – including one resident being charged £8000 for minor tree and garden work – has meant that although we want residents to be mindful of rogue traders offering tree services in their leaflets in particular, scams come in many different forms. By post, on the internet, through telephone calls and on the doorstep and they all have one thing in common – they want to trick victims out of cash or their personal information.  Residents should talk to their friends and relatives to help make them aware of these issues, and call the trading standards rapid response team on 07903 852090 if you, or someone you know, has been affected.”

This vulnerable, elderly Bromley resident is typical prey for many scammers. Rogue traders often cold-call someone at home, exploiting the elderly and vulnerable by convincing them to pay for shoddy or incomplete repair work while charging extortionate fees for their services. 

Residents are reminded to always use traders from an approved organisation. Ask for references or speak to previous customers and check addresses. Get at least three quotes to compare and get a full written estimate prior to the start of work. Don’t be pressurised into having the work done immediately.

Residents and traders have a Duty of Care to make sure that their actions don’t harm human health or the environment. All waste, including garden waste for disposal, should go to a legitimate Environment Agency approved waste carrier to avoid the risk of it being fly-tipped. Customers must also have a waste transfer note to prove it’s legitimate. Search or check for licensed waste carriers at www.bromley.gov.uk/wastecarriers

The council’s campaign, ‘Fly-tippers - we’re watching you’ aims to tackle all forms of fly-tipping – from a small bag of rubbish left on the street to a lorry load of construction waste dumped in a green space. The council uses a range of methods to find and deter fly-tippers including prosecution, Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs), CCTV surveillance, vehicle ‘stop and search’ operations and seizing vehicles from those known to be involved in fly-tipping and from those unable to prove they are legitimate waste carriers.

Anyone witnessing fly-tipping, dumped rubbish or another envirocrime taking place should call the police straightaway and report the details to the council. Visit www.bromley.gov.uk/envirocrime and include useful information such as a description of the offender, a vehicle registration or photo. As a ‘thank you’, up to £500 from the Envirocrime Reward Scheme is available to anyone whose evidence is used to successfully prosecute offenders.

To report fly-tipping and dumped rubbish for removal only, visit www.bromley.gov.uk/report. Dumped rubbish is cleared from the public highway by council contractors usually within five working days of being reported, depending on the quantity involved and location. In some instances, arrangements may need to be made for a special vehicle to remove large-scale fly-tips.

Residents and traders can find waste disposal options at www.bromley.gov.uk/wastenews or by calling 0300 303 8658.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7670 or email andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk