Concreter who broke consumer law fined $22,500 (Flash Concrete / Chris Gordon)
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A Gosnells tradesman who took big deposits for concreting jobs but failed to carry out the work has been fined $22,500 for breaking consumer law and ordered to pay compensation of more than $4,500 to customers.
In keeping with his previous attendance record Christopher Ronald Francis Gordon, who trades as Flash Concrete, didn’t show up to Court for his trial (15 June 2016) but was convicted of three breaches of the Australian Consumer Law in his absence. His Honour Magistrate Wilson described the conduct as serious – akin to fraud – and ordered Mr Gordon to pay:
- a fine of $7,500 for each offence, totalling $22,500;
- compensation of $4,283.85 to a victim from Bull Creek;
- $491.75 to a victim in Harrisdale who obtained a partial refund; and
- prosecution costs of $3,911.60.
(A third victim of Mr Gordon, residing in Guildford, is owed $2,163.00 for an uncompleted driveway and has previously obtained a civil judgment. No compensation was ordered on that charge to avoid duplication).
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard welcomes the penalty handed down.
“In the first quarter of 2015 Mr Gordon took almost $12,000 from three separate customers after quoting on jobs. Mr Gordon said the 50% deposits locked in bookings for concrete work and paid for materials.
“Mr Gordon repeatedly failed to show up as promised, avoided phone calls, provided a variety of excuses, generally via text message, and then ceased communication altogether when asked to pay back the money he’d received.
“Attempts by Consumer Protection to resolve the complaints against Mr Gordon, or obtain refunds for customers, proved unsuccessful. He has shown a complete disregard for the Australian Consumer Law but hopefully this significant fine is a strong deterrent to any other tradesperson or business thinking of doing the same.”
In 2015 Consumer Protection warned Western Australians not to do business with Mr Gordon under his trading name of Flash Concrete due to his lack of reliability.
The Acting Commissioner says Mr Gordon continues to quote for work and should be avoided because he cannot be trusted.
“WA consumers looking for a concreter may come across Flash Concrete online, for example on Facebook, and our previous warning not to pay any deposit money to Mr Gordon stands.”
Mr Hillyard also advised general caution when hiring tradespeople.
- Get recommendations, verify references or sight previous work and carry out some online research, including checking any business name or ABN.
- Don’t pay a deposit you can’t afford to lose; we recommend less than 10%.
- Remember handing over a large amount of money for nothing is risky and we say never pay the balance in full until the job is done.
- If you can pay by credit card, consider that option because you can seek a charge back if you do not get what you paid for, or if the business goes bust.
When works cost more than $7,500, WA’s Home Building Contracts Act makes it illegal to take a deposit over 6.5% of the total contract price.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, it is a serious offence to accept payment for work and not complete it as agreed, or within a reasonable timeframe. Services must also be carried out with due care and skill.
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