Beware of tree service scammers

Are your trees in need of some attention? Well-maintained trees can increase your home’s value by up to 20 percent and reduce heating and cooling bills.

The National Arborist Association reports fall is one of the best times to examine trees’ safety and health.

Selecting a tree service should be done carefully. Most companies are trustworthy, but there are shady contractors waiting to take your money and run. Often they go door-to-door, claim to be working in the neighborhood and ask for cash upfront. These contractors have no printed materials, are unwilling to provide credentials and use scare tactics to pressure you to make an immediate decision.

Check tree services out with the BBB by visiting or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. The BBB also can provide you with a list of BBB accredited businesses in the industry.

When selecting a tree service, the BBB advises you:

• Get at least three written estimates detailing work specifications.

• Don’t base your decision on the lowest estimate. Consider reputation, years of service and service provided.

• Determine if companies employ certified arborists who’ve passed tests and have adequate training.

• Meet company representatives and make sure they’re dressed professionally, prompt and courteous and have knowledge of industry standards.

• Confirm contractors have proper licensing and insurance coverage.

• Find out if tree services are members of organizations, such as the NAA, American Society of Consulting Arborists or accredited with the Tree Care Industry Association. These organizations ensure companies adhere to industry standards and licensing and insurance requirements and evaluate overall business practices.

• Request references and check them out. Visit finished jobs, if possible.

John North is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

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