A BULL Creek man is warning homeowners to make sure they are aware of the government-mandated limit on deposits for building contracts after he was fleeced out of nearly $4300 by a concreter.
Stuart (last name withheld) posted an online advertisement looking for someone to concrete his driveway in February 2015. He was then contacted by Christopher Ronald Francis Gordon, trading as Flash Concrete.
“I spoke to Chris over the phone and his pricing was about what I expected so I asked him to come out and give me a proper quote,” Stuart said.
“A couple of days later, he met my wife and I at our house, and seemed like a straight-up young Australian guy. He had an offsider with him, measured everything up, had concreting gear in his truck and showed us some photos on his phone of previous work he had done.
“He seemed to know what he was talking about and even suggested I look up his Facebook account to see photos of others jobs he had done, which I did.”
Gordon’s quote arrived a few days later, requesting the standard 6.5 per cent deposit for contracts worth more than $7500.
“Then Chris called and said that what he had sent was an old quote form and that I actually needed to pay a 50 per cent deposit so that he could purchase all the materials,” Stuart said. “My wife was booked in for surgery in a couple of weeks and because things were a bit frantic and we just wanted to lock in the work, we paid him the 50 per cent.”
For building contracts valued between $7500 and $500,000, the builder cannot ask for more than 6.5 per cent of the contract price as a deposit.
Gordon did not show up on the agreed date, or on a string of subsequently rescheduled dates, forcing Stuart to take legal action.
Earlier this month, after failing to appear in court, Gordon was convicted of three breaches of Australian Consumer Law and ordered to pay fines totalling $22,500 for the three offences.
He was also ordered to repay Stuart’s deposit.
“What made the whole situation even more frustrating is that when we tried to get someone else in to do the concreting, they asked for a 50 per cent deposit too, which we obviously knocked back,” he said. “Whether the industry standard has got slack or whether we were unlucky enough to run into two sharks in a row, I’m not sure.
“I’ve since discovered that concrete only needs to be paid for three days before it is laid and that you can ring up the concrete company and pay over the phone directly. That is how I would advise anybody looking at getting concreting done to go about it.”
Gordon did not respond to requests for comment.