Commissioner's Blog: Don’t fall for high pressure tactics from travelling tradies
For many of us, summer is the season to relax and unwind but this is also the time of year when travelling tradespeople start approaching householders and businesses with ‘cheap’ deals on jobs like roof painting and bitumen laying.
Travelling salespeople often use high pressure tactics to make their deal and can charge exorbitant rates for sometimes sub-standard work, so we are reminding consumers to be aware of their right to a cooling off period when they receive an uninvited approach from a tradesperson.
We recommend that anyone considering expensive work for projects such as roof painting should shop around for quotes and use reputable local tradespeople.
If a salesperson comes to your home out of the blue or for the purpose of providing a quote but enters into negotiations to supply, then you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law unsolicited consumer agreement provisions. You should get a 10 business day cooling off period to think about it and check prices and, if it’s not what you expected, then you can cancel the contract.
Consumer law also requires services to be carried out with due care and skill, and in a reasonable amount of time. When entering into any trades or services agreement we recommend that you get the cost of the job and timeframe for completion of work in writing.
Also only pay a minimal deposit of about 10 per cent or, for larger jobs, negotiate progress payments as stages of the work are completed. It is illegal for tradespeople to accept deposits of more than 6.5 per cent for building work valued at more than $7,500.
Ask if the business will take a credit card payment. If they do, this could offer a safeguard because of the possibility of getting a chargeback (transaction reversal) if the work is not carried out.
And obtain a record of any payment made and ensure the receipt or invoice includes the details of the business on it.
Key things to do before hiring someone include:
- Getting several quotes, including those from personally recommended or industry association recognised tradespeople.
- Undertaking a general internet search for positive or negative reviews is also useful, and this includes visiting our website which lists information about named traders and compliance actions.
- Verifying claims by asking to see previous work and speaking to past clients. Don’t just rely on photos or written testimonials or a website. Also ask to see any public liability insurance policy they claim to have.
- Checking that the business is registered, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has a guide to identifying a genuine business at www.accc.gov.au, and, if it’s a licensed profession such as an electrician, builder or plumber, then carry out a licence search on the Building and Energy website at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au.