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Westech Surfacing Pty Ltd was fined a total of $4,300 at the Narrogin Magistrates Court on 18 October 2017 with an arrest warrant issued for the company’s sole Director Mr William Orchard who failed to appear.
The company was convicted of all charges in their absence for offences relating to the supplying and laying of bitumen for a driveway resurfacing at a property in Beverley in November 2015.
Westech Surfacing Pty Ltd was charged with one count of misleading representation to a consumer regarding the price of services and four counts in relation to unsolicited consumer agreements.
Magistrate Johnston described the conduct of the company as deliberate and unscrupulous.
She said the fines reflected the need to protect the community at large and send the message that this kind of conduct was unacceptable. Costs of $1,733.60 were also awarded.
Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard said the company had adopted high pressure sales tactics to get the consumer to agree to an inflated quote while giving the impression that it was a ‘half price’ bargain.
“The householder was shocked to receive an invoice for $14,000 for work that she expected to cost no more than $2,000 to $3,000,” he said.
“The behaviour of the company’s employees meant that it was not possible to determine the actual cost of the work to be undertaken and the victim ended up paying $4,950.
“The company broke consumer laws which require uninvited door to door ‘itinerant’ traders to provide a copy of the agreement and allow a 10 business day cooling off period, during which they are not allowed to accept any payments or carry out any work, for jobs worth more than $100.”
He urged homeowners or businesses requiring expensive work for projects such as resurfacing to shop around for quotes and to use reputable local tradespeople.
To report any suspicious activities by travelling salespeople, call Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information including descriptions of the offenders, vehicle registration numbers and business names will assist in investigating the matter.
Media Contact: Claudine Murphy, (08) 6552 9366 / 0423 846 397 / email@example.com
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr William Orchard.