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A landscaper who took large deposits from consumers but failed to supply materials or complete the work has been fined $4,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay a total of $18,114 in consumer compensation.
Trent Danny Caines, trading as TDC Landscaping formerly of Ellenbrook, was also ordered to pay costs of $957 when he pleaded guilty to eight charges of wrongly accepting payment in breach of the Australian Consumer Law on 1 March 2018.
Between August 2015 and June 2016, Mr Caines had taken payments upfront ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 for paving and landscaping materials and services but did not supply all of the materials or complete the work, and failed to refund the deposits. The eight affected consumers lived in Harrisdale, Brabham, Hilbert, Coolbellup, Aubin Grove and Haynes.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said this case highlights the dangers of consumers paying too much upfront.
“When consumers pay large deposits to tradespeople, they put themselves in a vulnerable position and lose their bargaining power if the work is not carried out or completed to their satisfaction,” Mr Hillyard said.
“We urge consumers to only pay small deposits and never more than ten per cent and consider progress payments for larger jobs or pay only upfront for the purchase of materials if those materials are delivered direct to the consumer.
“Paying by credit card is another option where you may be able to claim a chargeback if the work is not carried out. Either way, make sure you get written itemised quotes and receipts for any payments that you have made, especially if paying in cash.”
Consumers who pay deposits to tradespeople but have trouble getting the work completed, can contact Consumer Protection by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com