Don’t deal with ‘bitumen bandits’ in Serpentine area

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Consumer Protection is warning residents in Serpentine and surrounding suburbs not to deal with ‘Bitumen Bandits’ currently believed operating in that area.

This is based on a report received today about an elderly Serpentine resident who paid $10,000 to resurface their driveway.

‘Bitumen Bandits’ go door to door and offer to re-surface driveways on the spot and engage in high pressure sales tactics. The work is usually sub-standard with inferior quality material being used and in some cases the driveways are even too thin to support the weight of a car.

As well as going door to door, Consumer Protection believes they have also erected signs in the Byford, Oakford, Armadale and Oldsbury areas promoting their services.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said these travelling conmen are usually ripping off residents and breaking consumer laws by carrying out substandard and unsolicited works.

“A ten day cooling off period applies to any agreement made when a trader approaches a consumer uninvited at their home. It is illegal to take money or carry out any work during this time,” Mr Newcombe said.

“We warn residents not to succumb to their high-pressure sales tactics and misleading statements about how good their driveway will look after the work is complete. They often target the vulnerable or elderly and carry out unsatisfactory work that’s not worth the money being paid.

“It’s almost impossible to track down these dodgy operators once the home owner realises the work does not meet minimum standards.

“As these illegal operators work in gangs and are constantly on the move, I warn other home owners across WA to be on alert and demand their legal right to a cooling off period.”

Homeowners requiring expensive work such as driveway-laying are advised to shop around for quotes and use reputable local tradespeople.

To report travelling conmen, call Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54. Information such as descriptions of the offenders, vehicle registration numbers or business names used would be of assistance.

END OF RELEASE

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
20 Nov 2015

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