Concreter fined and ordered to refund consumer (Rhyce Daniel Power)
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A concreter who only completed half a job but failed to return a consumer’s deposit has been fined $3,500 by the Narrogin Magistrates Court.
Rhyce Daniel Power, who was trading as Nitro Concrete and Powercrete (both unregistered) at the time, pleaded guilty to breaching the Australian Consumer Law and was ordered to refund the $6,000 deposit that was paid by the consumer. He was also ordered to pay $2,504 in costs.
In June 2015, Mr Power had accepted the $6,000 deposit from a Pingelly couple to lay concrete slabs for the construction of a house, garage and veranda. The deposit was 50% of the total quote.
Mr Power, who lived in Midvale at the time but now resides in Bassendean, had laid the footings for the garage and had dug holes for the house footings. He told the couple that he would return to complete the work a week later but never turned up.
The couple organised another concreter to complete the work after they were eventually unable to contact Mr Power who failed to provide a refund.
Chief Magistrate Heath accepted that half the work had been carried out but said it did not entitle Mr Power’s to keep the deposit. His Honour said the couple had been “left in limbo” and the matter could have been resolved if Mr Power had contacted the consumers concerned.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said a tradesperson can only keep a deposit when the total work is completed.
“The Chief Magistrate’s decision makes it clear that even if a tradesperson has completed an amount of work equivalent to the deposit paid, the entire deposit should still be refunded if the outstanding work is not completed,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Consumers should avoid paying such large deposits upfront and consider making progress payments as work is completed or, better still, pay the full amount after the work is finished to their satisfaction.”
Consumers who have issues with tradespeople can contact Consumer Protection by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54 for advice.
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