Consumer warning about dodgy tradesman (Christopher Brocklebank)
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WA consumers are being warned not to deal with a tradesman who has taken substantial upfront payments from customers, but failed to carry out any work.
Christopher Brocklebank of Woodvale, trading as Perth Evaporative Air & Gas Services and Elements ‘Hearth, Wind and Fire’ of Wangara, has had nine complaints lodged against him with Consumer Protection this year after charging upfront payments totalling more than $12,000 from consumers.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said, while the agency has received numerous other consumer complaints and enquiries concerning this trader since January 2011, the number of complaints has escalated in recent months.
“Mr Brocklebank has taken between $1,550 and $4,000 as payments in full or substantial deposits and, in most cases reported this year, has not carried out any promised work with his gas and air conditioning businesses,” Ms Driscoll said.
“In one case, he accepted a $4,000 cash cheque from a customer as an 80 per cent deposit and then didn’t return to the home to carry out the work. When the consumer asked for the deposit back, Mr Brocklebank claimed that an employee had stolen it.
“Other complaints relate to poor workmanship and, in another case, Mr Brocklebank claimed an air conditioning unit was only one year old when, in fact, it was manufactured ten years ago.
“We warn consumers not to have any dealings with Mr Brocklebank, or his businesses, given his poor track record. The department is in the process of launching legal action and we urge consumers who have complaints to contact us as soon as possible, if they haven’t already.
“This is yet another reminder that paying large deposits, or paying the full amount upfront, for work yet to be carried out is risky business. Consumers should never pay the full amount before work commences, and should pay small deposits only if necessary. Under the Australian Consumer Law, the work must be completed within a reasonable time.
“Consumers should take steps to ensure they are dealing with a reputable business with a proven track record before handing over any money – ask for references, inspect previous work carried out and perhaps do an internet search to see if positive or negative comments arise. Consumers may also consider paying by credit card with the possibility of getting a chargeback if the work is not carried out.”
In June 2012, Mr Brocklebank was prosecuted by the EnergySafety division of the Department of Commerce for carrying out gasfitting work while not holding a certificate of competency or permit authorising him to do the work. He was fined $700 and ordered to pay costs of $650 by the Joondalup Magistrates Court.
Consumers who have had problems dealing with Christopher Brocklebank, Perth Evaporative Air & Gas Services or Elements ‘Hearth, Wind and Fire’ should contact Consumer Protection by email: email@example.com or call 1300 30 40 54.
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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Alan Hynd 9282 0961 or 0429-078791 firstname.lastname@example.org
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