Air-con and gas man to pay $35,000 for breaching consumer laws (Christopher Brocklebank / Perth Evaporative Air & Gas Services / Elements Hearth Wind and Fire)

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Consumer

A gas and air conditioning supplier and repairer who took payments from customers without providing the goods or services has been fined $9,800, ordered to pay $4,290 compensation to his victims and has to pay the $21,000 it cost Consumer Protection to prosecute him.

Christopher Brocklebank of Clarkson was found guilty of five breaches of the Australian Consumer Law in his absence on 16 March 2016 at the Perth Magistrates Court.

Four of the charges against Mr Brocklebank were for accepting payment for goods and/or services and failing to provide those goods and/or services within a specified or reasonable time. The other charge was for making a false or misleading representation about the quality of an air conditioner that he sold to a consumer.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard stated that “under the Australian Consumer Law a tradesperson must complete work within a reasonable or agreed timeframe but Mr Brocklebank has repeatedly taken money from consumers and failed to supply air conditioning units and carry out installation and/or repair work”.

“Consumer law also requires products to match the description given and sample shown but Mr Brocklebank sold one couple a supposed one-year-old ‘ex-demo’, air conditioning unit for $2000. Instead, he installed a unit made up from used parts; with some of the parts up to 12 years old," Mr Hillyard said.

The other matters that formed the basis for the prosecution were:

  • In January 2013 a disability pensioner paid a 50% deposit for a $3,100 air conditioning unit due to be installed within a week. The consumer was then met with various excuses as to why the unit could not be supplied or work carried out. She did not receive the unit and was not repaid.
  • In February 2013 a couple entered into an agreement with Mr Brocklebank to supply and install a $3000 evaporative air conditioning unit, which was paid in full prior to installation. The unit was never supplied and they only received $1000 of their money back.
  • In May 2013 Mr Brocklebank accepted $740 from a consumer to buy a part for a gas fireplace repair job to be carried out the following day. Despite repeated phone calls and text messages from the consumer the part was never supplied, the repair never carried out and the money never repaid.

When handing down Mr Brocklebank’s sentence, Magistrate Pontifex commented that in the majority of cases Mr Brocklebank had not shown any remorse for his actions or attempted to repay money he owed people in spite of opportunities to do so.

The Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection is again warning the community not to have dealings with Christopher Brocklebank or any business he operates.

“Mr Brocklebank has a poor track record of behaviour towards his customers, and an obvious lack of respect for the obligations imposed under the Australian Consumer Law." Mr Hillyard said.

“This case is yet another reminder for customers to pay only small deposits if absolutely necessary. We recommend no more than 10% of the total price, because if the tradesperson turns out to be dodgy you may stand to lose that deposit. When you have to pay a deposit you may wish to consider paying by credit card if possible because of the charge back protection offered if you do not get what you paid for.”

Consumers who are yet to talk to Consumer Protection about a complaint against Christopher Brocklebank or his businesses Perth Evaporative Air & Gas Services and Elements, Hearth, Wind and Fire should email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

Previous Media Statements from Consumer Protection about Christopher Brocklebank:

Additionally, the Building Commission has previously prosecuted Mr Brocklebank for offences under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991.

Mr Brocklebank has also been prosecuted by EnergySafety for carrying out gas fitting work without holding a certificate of competency, permit or authorisation allowing him to do so.

END OF RELEASE

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
24 Mar 2016

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