Travelling conmen ringleaders identified (Felix Moorehouse & John Murphy)
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Consumer Protection is warning home owners not to deal with two travelling conmen operating under various company names, after they ignored door to door trading laws while offering driveway and roof repairs to consumers.
The warning follows complaints received from WA householders and relates to Felix Moorehouse and John Pio Murphy who are believed to be involved in the following businesses:
- Top Class Driveway and Roofing Improvements Pty Ltd (registered in Ferntree Gully, Victoria);
- All New Roofing and Driveway Maintenance (non-registered); and
- All Season’s Roofing and Driveway Restorations (non-registered);
The businesses are extremely difficult to contact and have so far refused to cooperate with our investigation.
In April 2015, workmen associated with Top Class Driveway and Roofing Improvements gave a verbal quote of $3,000 to a consumer in Winthrop and then carried out the work immediately without allowing for a ten day cooling off period as required by the Australian Consumer Law. The company refused to give a receipt for the work and could not be contacted by the consumer when he discovered a downpipe had been broken during the roof cleaning.
Another consumer in Winthrop was given a verbal quote of $2,000 to paint a driveway. After three harassing phone calls, the consumer agreed but only part of the work was carried out before they demanded full payment on the promise they would return next day to finish it off, which they didn’t.
In June 2015, a consumer in Forrestfield was approached by a workman claiming to be from All New Roofing and Driveway Maintenance who gave her a verbal quote of $2,200 to have her roof cleaned and resprayed. The consumer accepted the quote and work was due to be carried out in two days’ time, but the consumer cancelled the job after discovering the business was not registered.
In July 2015, workmen associated with All Season’s Roofing and Driveway Restorations approached a consumer in Edgewater who paid $2,000 cash for the men to clean her driveway, repair cracks and paint it. The consumer later discovered that only a small proportion of the driveway cracks had been filled and had quickly re-appeared. Work on the brick paving was cancelled.
In another case, a Noranda consumer had accepted a quote of $1,800 to repair the driveway. After completing the job, the workmen refused to accept a cheque and demanded cash. The consumer then had to go to the bank to arrange a transfer. It wasn’t discovered until later that day that the work was sub-standard and little of the restoration work originally promised had been carried out.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe warns WA consumers not to deal with Mr Moorehouse or Mr Murphy, their various businesses or anyone associated with them.
“These itinerant traders use high pressure sales pitches to get consumers to agree to have their roofs repaired and driveways painted at supposedly low cost. The cost of the job is often more than it’s worth and the work is usually sub-standard. It’s also difficult to track down these traders for a refund or to make a warranty claim if the consumer is not satisfied.
“They are also breaking consumer law by not observing a ten day cooling off period for unsolicited sales and painters are required to be registered with the Building Commission to operate legally in WA.
“We urge residents who may be approached by these conmen to report their activities and whereabouts to Consumer Protection immediately.”
In March 2013, Mr Moorehouse was ordered to pay $35,415 in fines and costs by the Parramatta Local Court in Sydney after being convicted of five offences under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and NSW Home Building Act. NSW Fair Trading has stated that “Mr Moorehouse is a member of a large, family-based gang of conmen who move between Ireland and Australia”.
Travelling conmen can be reported to Consumer Protection by email: email@example.com or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
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