Second warning about dodgy tradesman (Mark Straw – Complete Ceilings & Renovations)

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This announcement is for: 
Consumer

WA consumers are being warned for the second time not to deal with a tradesman who continues to accept substantial deposits from customers, but fails to begin or complete the work.

Mark Edward Straw, currently trading as Complete Ceilings and Renovations Pty Ltd of High Wycombe and formerly trading as Marks Ceilings & Renovations, has been warned by both Consumer Protection and the Building Commission and was successfully prosecuted for breaching the Australian Consumer Law. Under the ACL it is an offence to accept payment for goods or services and then fail to supply the goods or services within a reasonable time.

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.

A public warning about Mr Straw was issued by Consumer Protection in June 2013. At that time, he had eight complaints lodged against him related to the acceptance of deposits totalling more than $22,000 and failing to offer refunds. In March 2014, he was fined $1,000 linked to a Community Service Order by the Midland Magistrates Court following his arrest on a bench warrant issued for his arrest non-appearance at a previous court hearing.

Since his public naming in June 2013, Consumer Protection has received a further ten complaints from consumers who have paid a total of $67,200 in deposits and they report that the work is incomplete, causing them a great deal of inconvenience.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said Mr Straw demonstrates contempt for his customers and authorities.

“Our four year history with this trader tells us that he is someone consumers should avoid and we strongly recommend they engage the services of more reputable tradespeople in this industry,” Mr Newcombe said.

“Mr Straw has little interest in beginning or completing work after receiving large deposits and his customers find it difficult to contact him to resolve their complaints. He has also not cooperated with the Department’s attempts to resolve the matters.

“While we consider further action against this trader, we warn consumers not to do deal with Mr Straw or his registered businesses.

“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.

“Ensure there is a clear agreement, preferably in writing, on when the work is to commence and be completed. If work is delayed for an unreasonable amount of time, consumers have the right to cancel the contract and demand a refund.”

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.

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

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
02 Nov 2015

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