Bunbury tradie cause for consumer concern (Blake Ball / Balls Walls Construction)
Consumer Protection is warning home owners in the South West not to deal with a local tradesman who accepts large deposits for building projects but fails to either begin or complete the work.
Blake Ball, trading as Balls Walls Construction of Bunbury, accepted deposits from eight consumers between August 2014 and July 2016 but the work is either not carried out at all or remains incomplete. Any work that has been commenced is of poor quality. Mr Ball has also failed to provide refunds to his customers in these cases.
The consumers paid a total of $14,235 in deposits for the construction of limestone walls, fencing, paving and other jobs and have lodged complaints with Consumer Protection and the Building Commission.
In the latest complaint, a Bunbury woman paid him $3,655 in July 2016 for the construction of two walls but he has not yet started the job.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said Mr Ball has not made any attempt to commence or complete the work or offer refunds in these cases.
“Mr Ball has failed to cooperate with attempts by Consumer Protection to resolve these issues. He has been contacted on numerous occasions but promises he has made have proven to be empty ones,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Mr Ball had previously advertised his services on Gumtree and has recently placed his business card in the letterboxes of Eaton residents, which concerns us greatly.
“Until these outstanding complaints are resolved, we warn consumers not to deal with Mr Ball or his business Balls Walls.
“This case highlights the risks associated with consumers paying large deposits which, in many of these cases, involved 50 per cent of the total quote. Our recommendation is to pay no more than ten per cent up front and then only make progress payments as work is completed to your satisfaction.
“Building contracts for amounts over $7,500 are covered by the Home Building Contracts Act and deposits must never exceed 6.5% of the contract price.
“Consumers are also advised to consider the benefits of using a credit card to pay a deposit, as they may be able to seek a charge reversal if there is non-supply or if the business ceases to trade.
“Paying large deposits or even the full amount up front takes away the consumer’s bargaining power if the work is not completed or fails to meet the expected standard of workmanship.”
Complaints against Blake Ball or any other tradespeople can be lodged online on the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/cp. Enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
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