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Unveiling tree service abuses: Insights from Huntsville’s Arborist

Published on January 28, 2024

There are always unscrupulous characters who seek to take advantage of homeowners, but Huntsville’s Arborist Marc Byers said he’s heard it all.

By alerting residents to potential scams, Byers strives to foster a community well-informed about proper tree care, ensuring the preservation of Huntsville’s urban canopy, and discouraging unethical competition to hard-working legitimate tree services.

To that end, he’s sharing insights into frequently encountered scenarios related to tree services. Byers aims to empower residents with knowledge to make informed decisions when seeking assistance with their trees.

“Residents should always use common sense about concerns regarding their trees and remember to use best practices used in other business interactions,” Byers said. “Get an itemized list of work to be done and the cost of a job, be sure to check the qualifications of a contractor, and pay only after the work is completed.”

One prevalent tactic Byers confronts is manipulating fear and emotion. The salesman stresses that a tree is on the brink of collapse, posing an imminent danger, and increasing the sense of urgency regardless of the actual health of the tree.  While some trees do become dangerous, Byers emphasizes the importance of consulting an ISA Certified Arborist to accurately assess tree health, as fear-mongering claims may lead to unnecessary removals and great expense.

Addressing deceptive promises, Byers debunks the idea that the city will remove tree debris free of charge. Per city ordinances, contractors are always responsible for removing debris they generate. He said residents should always require, in writing, what their total charges will be, avoid cash deposits, and only pay once the job is finished and debris loaded.  He also urges residents to verify credentials, ensuring they are dealing with licensed and insured professionals and stresses the significance of research and caution, advising against impulsive decisions.

Click HERE for more information about Huntsville’s Tree Canopy program.