Ellenbrook landscaper fined for taking deposits without completing work

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A LANDSCAPER who took large deposits from consumers has been ordered to pay $22,114 in fines and compensation after failing to supply materials or complete work.

Trent Danny Caines, trading as TDC Landscaping, was fined $4000 in the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay $18,114 in consumer compensation.

Between August 2015 and June 2016, Caines took payments from customers ranging from $1000 to $4000 for paving and landscaping materials and services but failed to complete the work and refund the deposits.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the case highlighted the risks and dangers of consumers paying too much up front.

“When consumers pay large deposits to tradespeople, they put themselves in a vulnerable position and lose their bargaining power if the work is not carried out or completed to their satisfaction,” Mr Hillyard said.

Mr Hillyard said consumers should only pay small deposits – never more than 10 percent – and consider progress payments for larger jobs.

“Paying by credit card is another option where you may be able to claim a chargeback if the work is not carried out,” he said.

“Either way, make sure you get written itemised quotes and receipts for any payments that you have made, especially if paying in cash.”

The eight affected consumers lived in Harrisdale, Brabham, Hilbert, Coolbellup, Aubin Grove and Haynes.

Consumers who pay deposits to tradespeople but have trouble getting the work completed can contact Consumer Protection by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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