Consumer warning about dodgy tradesman (Marks Ceilings & Renovations – Mark Edward Straw)

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WA consumers are being warned not to deal with a tradesman who has taken deposits and full payments from customers, but failed to begin or complete the work.

Mark Edward Straw, trading as Marks Ceilings & Renovations formerly of Lower Chittering, currently has eight complaints lodged against him with Consumer Protection related to the charging of deposits and upfront payments totalling more than $22,000 and failing to offer refunds.

In August 2011, Mr Straw was warned by Consumer Protection about trading under an unregistered business name and, in May 2012, was warned by the Building Commission for breaching the Home Building Contracts Act regarding a contract with a consumer.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said that Mr Straw is believed to be continuing to advertise his services.

“We warn consumers who might be approached by Mr Straw in the future not to do any business with him. He demands large deposits and, in some cases, the full amount upfront and then either does not commence or fails to complete the work. One complaint also relates to poor workmanship,” Ms Driscoll said.

“Mr Straw has shown disregard towards his customers and has not been cooperative in resolving these consumer complaints. The Department is considering further action against this trader.

“This is yet another reminder that paying large deposits for work yet to be carried out is a risky practice. Consumers should never pay the full amount up front and pay small deposits only, if necessary.

“If the building work is between $7,500 and $500,000, the Home Building Contracts Act makes it is illegal for the contractor to take a deposit of more than 6.5% of the contracted price. Under the Australian Consumer Law, the work must be carried out 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 conduct 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.”

Consumers who have had unsatisfactory dealings with Mr Straw and Marks Ceilings & Renovations should contact Consumer Protection by email: consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

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

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Media Contact:
Alan Hynd  9282 0961 or 0429-078791  alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
13 Jun 2013

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