Western Australians are being warned by Consumer Protection and the Building Commission not to deal with a roofing business that is ignoring door-to-door trading laws.
Consumer Protection received a report of men, claiming to work for a roofing company, making an uninvited approach to a consumer in Samson. The men stated they were carrying out jobs in the area and noticed the consumer’s roof required work. They quoted $8,000 and following negotiation reduced the price to $6,000.
The men returned to the property the following day, accepted full payment in cash and then commenced work but so far have not returned to complete the job.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said consumers should be aware of their right to a cooling off period when agreeing to buy services during an uninvited approach from a tradesperson.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law a cooling off period applies to unsolicited sales and means no money can change hands and no work be carried out for 10 business days; in which time the consumer can cancel the contract without penalty,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Even if you have invited a tradesperson to your home to only provide a quote, the cooling off period still applies.
“We recommend that consumers get more than one quote for work around the home and check the credentials of the business before signing any contracts or handing over any money. Ask for references, inspect previous work and carry out an internet search of the business name to see if positive or negative comments arise.
“Conmen often operate door-to-door and can charge exorbitant rates for sub-standard work, if any work is carried out at all.
“Itinerant workmen use clever sales pitches to get consumers to agree to have their roofs repaired at a supposedly low cost. The initial pitch will usually be friendly and helpful pointing out how lucky it is that they spotted some issues. In reality, the price is often more than the dodgy job is worth. It’s also difficult for consumers to track down these traders for a refund, or to make a warranty claim, if they are not satisfied.”
Building Commissioner Peter Gow said the Home Building Contracts Act sets out the minimum requirements for contracts and applies to home building and associated work valued between $7,500 and $500,000.
“If the value of the building or associated work is between $7,500 and $500,000, the contract must be in writing and be signed by both the owner and the builder,” Mr Gow said.
“The contract cannot provide for the builder to receive a deposit of more than 6.5 per cent of the total value of the work. Once the work has commenced, the builder must not demand or accept payment for work that has not been performed or materials that have not been supplied.
“Home owners can protect themselves from entering into a non-complying contract by ensuring they receive and fully understand the information in the prescribed ‘Notice for the home owner’ before they sign the contract.
“This notice summarises the requirements of the Home Building Contracts Act and should be provided to the owner by the builder.
“Further information for home owners is available on the Building Commission website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-or-renovating-your-home.”
Consumers who are approached by tradespeople offering their services door-to-door and wanting immediate payment or to carry out work straight away should report the details to Consumer Protection by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 30 40 54.
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Consumer Protection and the Building Commission are divisions of the Department of Commerce
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