Aircon man fined and ordered to refund consumers (Christopher Brocklebank)
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An air conditioning tradesman was accused of “essentially stealing” while being fined a total of $9,000 by the Joondalup Magistrates Court for taking deposits from three consumers but failing to deliver the goods.
Christopher John Brocklebank, trading as Perth Evaporative Air and Gas Services, was also ordered to pay $7,963 in costs and to refund $3,700 to the three consumers as compensation.
The consumers had paid deposits between August 2013 and April 2014:
- A Warwick consumer paid $1,900 for the supply and installation of a new gas heater and flue system;
- A Warwick consumer paid $1,500 for a new evaporative air conditioning unit; and
- A Wanneroo consumer paid $300 for the repair of an evaporative air conditioning unit.
In all cases, the equipment was never supplied nor any work carried out by Mr Brocklebank.
Mr Brocklebank had pleaded guilty to the three charges and appeared in Court for sentencing on 22 July 2016 after being arrested on a bench warrant for failing to attend previous Court hearings on this matter.
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Hall said the “very serious” offences were “essentially stealing” and there had been a “spate of this type of offending” requiring a “strong deterrent”.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the case highlights the need for consumers to only pay small deposits.
“In this case, the consumers were dealing with an unscrupulous operator but, by paying too much up front, they put themselves at risk. Our advice is to pay as little as possible up front and consider paying in instalments as equipment is supplied or the work is carried out.
“Consumers should also get a confirmed installation date, preferably in writing as part of the quote. But even if a date isn’t set, the trader must carry out the work within a reasonable time and, if not, the consumer is entitled to cancel the contract and receive a refund.”
Consumers with concerns about the timely delivery of goods and services, can contact Consumer Protection by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
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