Aircon business to pay $187,000 in fines, costs and compensation (Affordable Home Comfort / Maxwell Healy)
An air conditioning company that accepted payments from consumers but failed to install either all or parts of the systems and its Director have been ordered to pay a total of $187,258.80 in fines, costs and compensation by the Perth Magistrates Court (December 2016).
Solar H C Pty Ltd, trading as Affordable Home Comfort, was fined $150,000 and ordered to pay costs of $7,659.40 as well as compensation to six consumers amounting to $11,940. Sole Director Maxwell Raymond Healy of Bindoon was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay costs of $7,659.40.
The company and Mr Healy were found guilty of 16 charges of breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Between October 2013 and May 2014, Affordable Home Comfort accepted payments ranging from $700 to $7,560 from the 16 consumers for the installation of either reverse cycle air conditioning or evaporative air conditioning with solar heating and, in most cases, the company agreed to complete the work within six weeks.
For eight of the consumers, the company installed air conditioning systems but failed to install the solar heating fan leaving the customers without a working heating system. The other eight consumers did not receive anything at all.
It is an offence under the ACL to accept payments from consumers and then fail to deliver the goods or services within the specified or a reasonable time and refuse to provide a refund.
In his decision, Magistrate Wheeler found that Affordable Home Comfort and Mr Healy had accepted numerous orders from customers when the solar heating components had not been ordered and they knew that they could not supply that system. In sentencing, he found that the offending was serious and that neither the company nor Mr Healy had shown any remorse.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said Max Healy and his brother Alwyn, who was an employee of the business, have had a long history with the Department.
“Alwyn Healy in particular has been the subject of numerous public warnings and successful prosecutions under various business names for many years,” Mr Hillyard said.
“The recent business conduct of the Healy brothers demonstrated little regard for their customers or their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. They have again shown that they are incapable of properly operating a business to the standard and ethics demanded by the community and the law.
“Both men had taken money from consumers and accepted orders for products they knew were not in stock and couldn’t supply within a reasonable time, or at all. Their refusal to provide refunds of the deposits added to the stress and frustration of the affected consumers.
“We welcome the outcome of this court case. We hope that this latest prosecution will be last against the Healy brothers and there will be no more consumers in WA who will lose their money by being conned by these two men.”
General information about consumer rights is available on the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/cp and enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
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