Tree work

There may be times when you need to lop, prune, thin, fell or remove trees on your property. This work is dangerous and should be carried out by a professional tree work contractor.

Tree work contractors are qualified, know how to do the job safely, hold the correct insurances and can provide you with a written quote.

This page includes information on:

Read Safework NSW's Hiring tree work contractors factsheet for information on hiring a professional tree work contractor.

Your consumer rights

Australian Consumer Law guarantees your rights when you buy goods and services.

In fact, most products and services purchased after 1 January 2011 come with an automatic consumer guarantee that the product or service you purchased will work and do what you asked for. This includes tree work services.

Acceptable quality

When you engage a business to provide a service, you have the right to expect ‘acceptable quality’. Services must be:

  • provided with due care or skill (taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage)
  • fit for any specified purpose (express or implied)
  • provided in a reasonable time (when no time is set).

What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the nature of the service, the difficulty of the task and other relevant factors.

Proof of purchase and documentation

You have the right to receive proof of purchase (like an invoice, cash register receipt, handwritten receipt or lay-by agreement). Suppliers must provide proof of purchase for goods and services worth $75 or more (excluding GST).

Remedy when things go wrong

You are entitled to an appropriate remedy from the business when the product or service you purchased does not meet one or more of the consumer guarantees.

This might be a refund, a further service to rectify the problem and in some cases, reimbursement for damages and consequential loss. The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is minor or major.

The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is:

Minor

If the problem is minor and can be fixed, the business can choose how to fix the problem. You cannot cancel and demand a refund immediately. Instead, you must give the business an opportunity to fix the problem. However, if repairs take too long, you can get someone else to fix the problem and ask the business to pay reasonable costs or cancel the service and get a refund.

If the problem is major or cannot be fixed, you can choose to:

  • terminate the contract for services and request a full refund
  • seek reimbursement for the difference between the value of the services provided compared to the price paid.

For more information, see repairs, replacements & refunds.

Major

A problem is considered ‘major’ when it:

  • would have stopped someone from purchasing the service had they known about it
  • is substantially unfit for purpose and can’t be fixed in a reasonable timeframe
  • creates an unsafe situation
  • doesn't meet the specific purpose or achieve the specific result that the consumer requested.

For more information, see repairs, replacements & refunds.

Have a problem?

  1. Contact the business in the first instance and explain the problem. If the matter is complicated and not urgent, you could write an email or letter. We have tips and sample letters to help you.
  2. If you’re unable to resolve the matter with the business, you can contact us for help on 13 32 20 or make a complaint online.

Learn about our complaint handling process or view our complaints register.

If you see a tree worker who is working unsafely, call SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.

Be a savvy consumer

Tree work scams and travelling conmen

Watch out for travelling conmen offering special deals on equipment or to work your property.

These people may turn up at your door unexpectedly, after a storm or natural disaster, and use aggressive sales techniques to convince you to take up their offer. They are well-organised and deceptive, and mislead consumers by pretending to be legitimate tradespeople.

Be suspicious of people who:

  • turn up at your door unexpectedly offering special one-off or ‘today only’ deal
  • ask for cash up front
  • offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
  • pressure you into accepting their offer
  • disappear and leave the job unfinished or of a poor standard.

If you believe you have been approached by a travelling conman, call the national travelling conman hotline on 1300 133 408 or refer to our Scams page for more information.

Further information

Contact us

Can’t find the information you’re looking for? Call us on 13 32 20 or submit an online enquiry.

Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?

The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.

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