One of the main reasons the legislation was passed was due to consumer problems with some companies within the tree care industry. The public has been cheated by many unscrupulous companies performing tree care work who are either unqualified, not carrying the correct insurance or performing substandard work. This is especially true after storm events when many reputable tree care companies are overwhelmed with emergency calls. This created a negative view of the industry as a whole even though the majority of tree care companies are abiding by the law and industry standards. The law requires that businesses be registered and allows for the Board to suspend or revoke business registrations, individual licenses or to initiate proceedings for civil penalties.
The Better Business Bureau's 2002 report card showed that tree care ranked in the top 8% in the complaint category and that disputes were resolved at a D minus rating. This law gives consumers an effective method to resolve complaints by requiring tree care company registration and empowering the Board to take action. Registration will allow the Board to communicate directly to registered firms to resolve complaints or problems. They will be able to remedy complaints against both registered and unregistered tree care companies that are uncooperative or seek to defraud the public by revoking business registrations or instituting civil penalties.
This law also requires companies to have at least one person properly licensed, allows the Board to adopt industry standards, requires licensed individuals to obtain continuing education units and creates remedies to address companies or individuals that do substandard work. The licensing provision will help create a better trained and more knowledgeable work force and continuing education will keep tree experts abreast of new techniques, equipment and research findings. The adoption and enforcement of standards will improve tree health and longevity and decrease the creation of hazardous trees in the long run.
The Act passed on January 16, 2010 and as of April 17, 2017, the Rules and Regulations have been adopted and approved, permitting the New Jersey Board of Tree Experts to fully implement the Act to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries in the tree care profession, and promote proper industry tree care practices.