A Perth gutter repair and roofing business and its sole director have been ordered to pay a total of $14,400 in fines, compensation and costs at Perth Magistrates Court for taking money for services from a consumer but failing to deliver.
Alloy Roofing Pty Ltd was fined $8,000 and ordered to pay costs of $3,500 for breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) when it accepted payment but failed to supply all the agreed services. As the company’s sole director, Troy Christopher Jacobs was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay compensation of $900 to the consumer.
The consumer was contacted by Mr Jacobs on behalf of Alloy Roofing in May 2017 in response to her request, through a third-party website, for a quote for roof and gutter repair work.
After discussing the required work with Mr Jacobs, the consumer received a quote from Alloy Roofing and paid a $900 deposit. Despite the understanding that work would start when the deposit had been received, the project did not get underway. Mr Jacobs told the consumer he had not attended the premises because the truck delivering the required materials had been in an accident.
After the consumer lodged a complaint with Consumer Protection WA, Alloy Roofing made assurances that the agreed work would be completed but it was never carried out and the consumer’s deposit was not refunded.
Mr Jacobs later claimed he had been injured and had been unable to do the work.
At Perth Magistrates Court on 8 February 2019, Magistrate Randazzo said the conduct was unacceptable and that where money changes hands, the trader has an obligation to supply the agreed goods and services.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the case was a reminder that people should not to pay too much for services upfront.
“Paying a large deposit increases the financial risk to consumers because there is a greater chance of losing their money should the business fail to deliver,” Mr Hillyard said.
“We strongly recommend that consumers keep the deposit as low as possible and never pay the full amount upfront. For bigger jobs, consumers should consider making progress payments at certain stages of completion or as materials are delivered.
“Don’t be afraid to use your bargaining power and have the confidence to dictate the terms of progress payments and not just accept what the trader demands.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, work must be carried out within a reasonable amount of time or finished by the completion date stated in the contract, so get in touch with Consumer Protection if there are unreasonable delays.”
Consumers who have paid for a product or service which wasn’t supplied can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website: www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection or enquiries can be made by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Courtney Notte, 0423 846 397, firstname.lastname@example.org