Fake tradies known as ‘bitumen bandits’ on the prowl for WA victims

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ConsumerBusiness / company
  • Travelling conmen approach WA consumers and businesses uninvited
  • Reports so far received from Perth, Goldfields and Great Southern areas
  • These fake tradies do a dodgy job, take the money and run

WA home and business owners are being warned to avoid dealing with a band of fake travelling tradies known as ‘bitumen bandits’ offering to re-surface driveways and car parks, but the standard of their work is extremely poor.

Four reports have so far been received concerning the group of men who are believed to be UK nationals, charging customers between $5,000 and $20,000.

They have travelled from Perth to the Goldfields and are now thought to be in the Esperance/Great Southern area. In Perth, businesses in Cannington and Darlington were targeted.

The fake tradies are breaking consumer laws by approaching potential customers uninvited and failing to observe the required ten business day cooling off period.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake says the opening of borders post-COVID-19 has also now opened up opportunities for these travelling conmen to rip off consumers and businesses.

“These reports of fake tradies on the move are the first we have received in a number of years since borders closed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Blake said.

“But now that borders are opened, the fake tradies are back in business and targeting home and business owners with their high pressure sales tactics and carrying out dodgy work at highly-inflated prices.

“Sometimes they tell potential customers that they have just finished a job nearby and have some bitumen left-over, so can offer them a good deal.

“Usually the materials being used are sub-standard and the surface is so thin it can’t support the weight of a vehicle. They will then take their victim’s money and quickly move on, making it difficult for their victims or authorities to catch up with them.

“Consumers looking to get bitumen work done should resist any approaches and sales pitches from these people. Instead, get multiple quotes from reputable tradespeople.

“These terrible tradies break door to door, or unsolicited consumer agreement laws, which give consumers the right to a ten business day cooling off period if they are approached uninvited. It is illegal to take money or carry out any work during this time.

“We urge home and business owners to be on alert and, if approached, send them on their way and contact Consumer Protection immediately to report their whereabouts.”

To report travelling fake tradies, call Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au. Information such as descriptions of the offenders, vehicle registration numbers or business names used are useful.


Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / cpmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
18 Apr 2023

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