United Fencing (WA) Pty Ltd of Mandurah, a registered company of sole director James Lee Battah, of Harvey, closed its Bunbury office earlier this year.
The company has signed a court-enforceable undertaking under the Australian Consumer Law with Consumer Protection, which places strict conditions on present and future dealings with customers.
Consumer Protection received 37 complaints against the company, most in the past five months, with customers claiming to have paid a total of $60,000 in deposits but little or no work was carried out. Many consumers have taken action in local magistrates courts to recover their deposits.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll said complaints continued to be received despite assurances from the company that the work would be completed.
‘United Fencing and its director have largely ignored the complaints from their customers and have to date refused requests to refund deposits paid for work that has not been started or completed,’ she said.
‘The most recent report from a consumer indicated that United Fencing may be contacting existing customers, demanding progress payments on jobs that they have yet to commence.
‘Existing customers are advised not to pay any further payments to the company until work is completed to their complete satisfaction.’
The enforceable undertaking requires United Fencing to supply existing and future customers with written contracts that clearly set out a time frame for completion of work, the costs involved and limits the amount of deposit to be paid to 10 per cent of the contract price. The company will also be required to refund almost $43,000 in deposits to 24 customers by April 15.
‘Consumer Protection will be closely monitoring this trader to ensure they abide by the condition of the undertaking and heavy penalties will apply if they fail to meet the conditions,’ Ms Driscoll said.
For advice call Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email consumer@commerce.|wa.gov.au.