South Australians, particularly those in the Adelaide Hills and foothills, are warned that dodgy tree loppers are operating in the area.
Business Services and Consumers Minister Gail Gago said the State’s consumer watchdog is investigating recent complaints of a business with shady practices.
“Following reports from consumers and SA Police, Consumer and Business Services are investigating M&M Greenworks Tree Services and individuals associated with the business by the names of ‘Fui’ and ‘Hay’ for breaches of Australian Consumer Law.
“Residents in the Adelaide Hills have been door-knocked by these men offering tree lopping and removal services.
“It is incredibly important for residents in the Hills region to prepare for the bushfire season and tidy up their trees and branches, but we don’t want to see consumers get burnt in the process.
“We wish to advise consumers that itinerant traders who offer to perform unsolicited work, such as tree lopping, are notorious for over charging for work that may not be needed or solicited in the first place.
“This leaves the unsuspecting consumer with no cooling-off rights, as they are entitled to under Australian Consumer Law.
“In particular, these individuals sought to have an elderly lady accompany one of the men to the bank to withdraw cash to pay for the services before the work was carried out and a price was agreed upon.
“Consumers across South Australia should be alert and avoid dealing with these unscrupulous individuals who use dodgy practices and intimidation tactics to secure work,” Ms Gago said.
CBS are also working with interstate authorities as information indicates these individuals work in other states as well, and a prosecution is likely after failing to meet the provisions of door-to-door trading.
Consumers are entitled to a 10-day cooling off period for uninvited offers, during which time the trader cannot provide any goods or services or accept any payment for transactions over $100.
Consumers are entitled to ask door knockers to leave and are advised not to hand over any money.
Individuals convicted of breaches under the law could face a maximum fine of $220,000; a corporation would face a maximum fine of $1.1 million.
Anyone with any concerns about their dealings with M&M Greenworks Tree Services or the named individuals is encouraged to contact CBS on 131 882.