How to complain about your neighbour’s trees and hedges!


Well, this can be thorny subject in more ways than one! Before things get out of hand here’s a bit of advice.



Overhanging branches
You are legally entitled to cut off any branches overhanging your property at the point where they cross the boundary. Technically they belong to your neighbour and you should offer them back. Or if you are feeling lazy and don’t like them very much just throw them over the fence! 🙂  Check that there isn’t any tree preservation order associated with anything before you start cutting as in that case you need permission from the appropriate authority before doing it. Our neighbours hang a washing line from a branch of a tree that we have in the garden. We are often tempted to cut the branch…

If anything overhanging causes damage or injury to you, your neighbour could be sued for compensation if you make a claim for damages.

Dangerous trees
Local authorities in England and Wales can intervene where a tree on private land is at risk of causing damage. It can make it safe on behalf of the owner of the land where the tree sits and reclaim the costs from the owner. It can also do this at your request where you don’t know who owns the land. You can also ask the local authority to inspect the condition of the tree. Departments responsible for this vary. They will only take action if they believe that the tree is on the point of causing damage.

In Northern Ireland, local councils only have powers to make a dangerous tree on private property safe if it is overhanging a public footpath or road. If a dangerous tree is overhanging a neighbour’s property, you will have to try to resolve the matter with the owner of the tree or consider legal action.

If the roots of your neighbour’s tree have spread into your property they can be removed using the least damaging method available, unless there is a tree preservation order on it – see below. If you have to enter the tree owner’s property to do this, you must give reasonable notice.

Your neighbour could also consult their insurers, if there is a possibility that their property may be damaged by the roots. If the roots have already caused damage, the tree owner is liable to pay compensation but it must be shown that the tree owner knew, or ought to have known, of the danger. Our neighbour’s tree was shown to have caused damage to their neighbour’s property and the insurance paid up. It’s easier to get an insurer to pay up than sue your neighbour.

If your neighbour’s evergreen or semi-evergreen hedge is more than two metres high and is blocking out light you can complain to the local authority. You can prune but you can’t cut down. The local authority will expect you to have discussed the matter with your neighbour and may charge you a large fee to consider the matter and both you and your neighbour can appeal. You will need to take advice from a solicitor if you cannot find a resolution with your neighbour and don’t want to pay the authority.

6 ways the CEO screws up!

When the CEO receives a complaint (and it is so easy to find a CEO’s email address now see it is often the CEO’s fault. Here’s why…

1)  Complaints about call centres  there are so many complaints about waiting times, being passed over etc. Many issues and reasons for the complaints are discussed in this post Call Centres. Most if not all boil down to the CEO. Who is putting the time limits on calls, making decisions about targets etc?

2) Rude staff – who is responsible for recruiting the people who recruited the rude staff? Who is responsible for ensuring that there are robust recruitment and disciplinary systems in place and who is responsible for recruiting that person? You keep going up until you reach the CEO. His/her fault!

3) Staff who don’t know where products are or how to carry out a service? Training is needed and again, who is responsible for that, one keeps going up until you reach the CEO!

4) Staff morale is low and they in turn provide poor service. Who is responsible for pay and conditions? Ultimately the CEO!

5) Staff don’t go the extra mile for a customer, they do the bare minimum. Who is responsible for putting in measures that make staff loyal to the company? That’ll be the CEO.

6) Sales go down because the CEO doesn’t care for his or her customers, just profits and this shines through all the way down through the ranks to the face to face staff because the brown mucky stuff starts from the top. Look at my posts about the previous Tesco CEO

If CEOs cared about what their customers wanted and listened to them they’d do what they want and the profits would follow. Just. Simple. Common. Sense. Not rocket science, common sense. So many a CEO got all the qualifications but sadly there is no qualification in common sense. Every company makes mistakes it is how they deal with the mistake that matters. That is down to the CEO too. Empower staff to make decisions, train them to make the right ones and the complaint won’t be escalated to the CEO. Simples. So many CEOs don’t see it.

Marcus Williamson, the editor of wrote a guest post on why and when to contact the CEO here. Tips on complaining effectively to the CEO can be found here.

Sainsbury’s nectar turns sour

Supermarket’s forthcoming trading figures may reflect disillusioned customers

Sainsbury's nectar turns sourFrom 11th April Sainsbury’s reduce their loyalty points on their Nectar card. This move from Sainsburys may save them money in the short term but in the long term it could hurt the supermarket hugely.

When Sainsburys announced this change last year it said that it would be making better and bigger offers, with more included in their double-up voucher scheme at Christmas. However, in reality the “double up points” scheme that was limited to £20 per department and many staff didn’t even know what was in and what was out of the offer with confusion around Christmas gifts and food. £20 limit on toys for a family of 4 isn’t very helpful either. I know I just kept going back and doubling up for alcohol! Very inconvenient for customers.

This sort of thing, reducing offers and making it complicated annoys customers greatly and for Sainsbury’s to increase their profits they need to be mindful of making things more difficult for customers if they want to develop loyalty. In glaring contrast, Tesco has the more developed reward scheme, with the most frequent doubling-up of value and range of items to spend points on. It also improved its voucher scheme for Christmas, having simplified the doubling-up process so customers could spend across departments with no limit. As you know, I have had several run ins with Tesco and people often ask why I still shop there. The loyalty scheme is right up there, I’ve saved hundreds of pounds using it making it much cheaper than other supermarkets overall.

In a benchmarking survey of 1,000 UK consumers, the marketing and data specialists GI Insight, found that companies in the supermarket sector are by far the most popular loyalty scheme providers, as more than three quarters of respondents are members of at least one supermarket loyalty programme. The supermarkets, in terms of the percentage of consumers who are members, remain active and recognise the brand’s ability to effectively analyse their data to deliver relevant and useful offers.

Supermarkets fighting the price wars and offering price matching need to find other ways of retaining and attracting customers. I think Mike Coupe is at risk of making the same mistakes as Clarke. Never mind all the analysis of this, that and the other, Tesco’s downturn in fortunes boiled down to one simple thing, Clarke didn’t listen to customers and that filtered through the company. With only an eye on growth and making more money he didn’t care about exiting customers and they left as a result.

Loyalty must work both ways
Customers flocked to social media when Sainsburys announced that they would be reducing the value of nectar points, making their feelings clear, with many customers saying that they would be leaving the supermarket. It will be interesting to see what the following quarter is like too, when the cut in loyalty points kicks in and if Coupe continues not to listen to customers. Perhaps it about time that supermarkets took on an ‘Every listen helps’ slogan”!

Should you wish to contact Sainsbury’s CEO, do so here.

What are your thoughts of the loyalty schemes?