A BALLAJURA fencing contractor has been ordered to pay nearly $16,000 after it was found he took money from consumers but failed to deliver.
Steven John Pietersen, trading as Flawless Glass Fencing, was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to four charges of accepting payment but failing to supply all the goods and services in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
He was also ordered to pay compensation of $9776 to four consumers as well as costs of $1173.50.
Mr Pietersen had already paid back $9000 to affected consumers when sentenced.
Mr Pietersen took payments from four consumers between January and December 2014:
A Carramar consumer paid a deposit of $2550 in January 2014 after accepting a $17225 quote for pool fencing, paving and landscaping. No work was carried out;
A Duncraig consumer paid a deposit of $1820 in February 2014 after accepting a $2750 quote for pool fencing, a gate and a boundary fence. Some work was carried out but not completed.
The consumer later discovered the glass being used was substandard.
A Darch consumer paid a deposit of $2600 in July 2014 after accepting a $4800 quote for laying limestone pavers and synthetic turf. No work was carried out.
An Ellenbrook consumer paid a deposit of $2806 in December 2014 after accepting a $4080 quote for the installation of glass pool fencing. No work was carried out.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said paying upfront was a danger for conusmers.
“Paying a large deposit increases the financial risk to consumers with a greater chance of losing their money should the business fail to deliver or go broke before the job is done,” Mr Hillyard said.
“So we strongly recommend that consumers never pay the full amount upfront and keep the deposit as low as possible. For bigger jobs, making progress payments at certain stages of completion or as materials are delivered is an option worth considering.
“Consumers should use their bargaining power and have the confidence to dictate the terms of progress payments and not just accept what the trader demands.
“Also consider the benefits of using a credit card to pay a deposit, as you may be able to seek a charge reversal if there is non-supply or if the business goes under.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.