Willetton couple scammed by fake tree loppers

Wilf Snook of Willetton warns people to be wary of cold calls from men offering tree pruning services. Picture: Emma Geary
Wilf Snook of Willetton warns people to be wary of cold calls from men offering tree pruning services. Picture: Emma Geary

BUYER beware is the lesson Calene and Wilf Snook of Willetton learned when they paid two men with chainsaws to cut down a tree in their backyard.

The couple wanted a large pepper tree cut down, and when two amiable men visited their house just before the City of Canning’s recent green waste pick up, they thought opportunity had come knocking.

The men said they were tree loppers and initially quoted the couple $200 to cut down a dead branch.

The cost of the job increased to $600 after they incorrectly told Mr Snook the tree was riddled with white ants, following which he asked for it to be lopped to fence height.

He said after their first visit the men left behind a chainsaw and harness but took one of his battery chargers and not before splattering oil on their patio area.

“They came back after the first visit and did a little bit of work and then they shot through again,” he said.

Mr Snook, who would have done the job himself had it not been for a recent operation, said the tree lopping duo visited his home for a third time and then were never seen again.

He said while they cut smaller branches down the pair never finished the job despite being paid in full.

With spring approaching Mrs Snook warned people to be wary of people visiting homes offering a tree lopping service.

She said to avoid their experience, people should first get a written quote and only pay once the job was completed.“The reason why we paid them was because they sounded genuine and they were concerned about Wilf’s health,” she said.

The Snooks have contacted an arborist to complete the job two months after the friendly men first knocked on their door.

Gary Anderson from Trees Need Tree Surgeons in Bibra Lake said because of Mr Snook’s recent operation he would remove the rest of the tree without charge.

Mr Anderson warned home owners and renters to not accept any quote for tree work by “so called professionals cold calling” as the job was bound to end with disaster.

“We have been called out to distressed clients that have their tree absolutely ruined by incorrect pruning techniques and had to remove them,” he said.

“They – the two men and a ute – more often than not end up charging more than the professional arborist which is also a big problem.”

“The more air time we give people about this menace the more householders will think twice about accepting these bogus quotes and ruining peoples’ lives.”

He said there was a concerted effort by the phony tree people to follow the green waste trail around the councils.

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