‘Bitumen Bandits’ in Kununurra

Consumer Protection has received reports from residents in Kununurra that so-called “Bitumen Bandits” are operating there.

Consumers say they have been approached by workmen offering to lay bitumen driveways at what they claim are bargain prices.

Senior Regional Officer Annetta Bellingeri is warning people in Kununurra and the wider Kimberley region not to deal with these itinerant traders.

“These traders use high pressure sales pitches, claiming to have material leftover from another job down the street, to get consumers to agree to have their driveways bituminised at supposedly low cost,” she said.

“Experience tells us that the cost of the job is often more than it’s worth and the work is usually sub-standard. It’s also difficult to track down these traders for a refund or to make a warranty claim if the consumer is not satisfied.”

Bitumen Bandits are also breaking consumer law by not observing a ten day cooling off period. Under the Door to Door Trading Act, a trader who makes an unsolicited approach to consumers must not accept any money or carry out the work during this period.

“We are also concerned that these people often target vulnerable consumers such as seniors in our community. In the past, some elderly people have been intimidated into being driven to their banks to get the cash,” Ms Bellingeri added.

If consumers anywhere in the Kimberley are approached by someone offering to lay asphalt driveways using left over materials at bargain prices, they should immediately say no and contact Consumer Protection. The general advice line number is 1300 30 40 54 or call Ms Bellingeri on 0437 966 290. You can also email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or annetta.bellingeri@commerce.wa.gov.au

Information such as vehicle registration numbers or business details would be useful.

END OF RELEASE

(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)

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Media Contact:
Alina Cavanagh
9282 0679 or 0423-846397
alina.cavanagh@commerce.wa.gov.au

Consumer Protection
Media release
27 Aug 2010

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