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A home renovations tradie with a history of ripping off WA consumers has been fined $11,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court, ordered to pay $2,500 in compensation to one consumer as well as legal costs of $1,085.50, for breaking the Australian Consumer Law.
On 7 February 2020, Mark Edward Straw of Warnbro (formerly High Wycombe), trading as C.C. Renoes, was convicted in his absence, by way of a written plea, of three charges of accepting payments from consumers but failing to begin or complete the work and one charge of making false or misleading representations.
In February 2018, a Thornlie consumer accepted a quote to install internal walls and partitioning to a carport and subsequently paid a total of $2,500 in deposits for a $4,500 job. Mr Straw broke the slab in preparation of the work, but no other work was carried out and no refund was offered.
In December 2017, a Kallaroo consumer paid a $2,805 deposit for a contract valued at $5,100 for some general carpentry work. Mr Straw removed some cladding and tiles and painted some timber, but failed to complete the majority of the work or provide a refund.
In November 2017, a Kelmscott consumer paid the full amount of $9,000 in several payments for a bathroom renovation and ceiling repairs. After gutting the bathroom, work stopped even though the final payment was made. The job was never completed by Mr Straw and no refund was provided.
A compensation order was issued by the Court for Mr Straw to return $2,500 to the Thornlie consumer. The other consumers had already received orders via other civil jurisdictions. The Kelmscott consumer received an order from the Building Commissioner and the Kallaroo consumer was granted a court order through civil action.
The charge of making false or misleading representations related to Mr Straw’s use of another person’s ABN without their knowledge after the ABN for his previously registered business name “Complete Ceiling and Renovations Pty Ltd” had been cancelled. The unauthorised ABN was used in advertisements for C.C. Renoes that were posted online.
In sentencing, Magistrate Hall considered the offences to be serious, noting the deposits involving “people’s hard-earned money” were paid in good faith for work that wasn’t completed.
Mr Straw has previously been named and prosecuted by both Consumer Protection and the former Building Commission (now Building and Energy):
9/2/2018 – New claims result in fresh builder warning (Mark Edward Straw – Complete Ceilings and Renovations Pty Ltd)
21/12/2016 – $242,700 in fines for rogue renovator (Mark Edward Straw – Complete Ceilings and Renovations Pty Ltd)
2/11/2015 – Second warning about dodgy tradesman (Mark Straw – Complete Ceilings & Renovations)
27/3/2014 – Tradesman fined for taking deposit and not doing work (Mark Edward Straw – Marks Ceilings & Renovations)
13/6/2013 – Consumer warning about dodgy tradesman (Marks Ceilings & Renovations – Mark Edward Straw)
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said Mr Straw has a shocking history of ripping off his clients.
“Since 2013, Mr Straw has been the subject of numerous public warnings and prosecutions but he continues to thumb his nose at the law and the authorities that enforce it,” Ms Chopping said.
“He extracts as much money as he can from consumers in the form of deposits or full payments, then does very little of the agreed work. In some cases, the little work he does carry out creates huge inconvenience for his clients with bathrooms left gutted and unusable and carport slabs broken.
“Apart from being out of pocket, the consumers must arrange for other tradespeople to complete the work while suffering a high degree of disruption and stress.
“Our strong advice to WA consumers is never deal with Mr Straw or any of the businesses he promotes, and certainly don’t pay large deposits or full amounts to any tradie.
“For larger jobs, make progress payments as different stages of the work are completed and materials are supplied.
“Also bear in mind that the Home Building Contracts Act limits deposits to 6.5 per cent of the total contract price where the value is more than $7,500.”
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org