MOSMAN Park 2018 Senior Citizen of the Year Margaret Baldwin (76) OAM may be the victim of a suspected scam after paying $3000 to men who did not complete work on her tile roof.
Mrs Baldwin said the men lured her by leaving a leaflet promoting their work and business using potentially stolen details.
“I was reluctant, I was suspicious all the way through, but he had an answer for everything,” she told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
The community volunteer with the town’s primary school, netball and cricket clubs broke her silence to warn others of the trap.
“I even got my brother over to discuss it so I did not get ripped off,” she said.
On February 4, a knock at her door revealed two men, both with Irish accents, who had a leaflet for ‘West Side Roofing and Gutters’ with contact numbers, an ABN and a website.
Mrs Baldwin paid a $200 deposit and the men cleaned her roof and prepared its ridge capping, after which she paid another $800.
“I didn’t go out there because there was water going everywhere,” she said.
A final $2000 payment was made for repainting, which did not happen when the men claimed a machine for the job was broken on February 6.
They did not return to finish the job.
“As long as I can say what happened, someone else won’t get caught out, but what’s done is done,” Ms Baldwin said.
She said police told her what they could do was limited because some work had been completed.
When called, mobile phones on the leaflet when through to message banks.
A northern suburbs tradesman whose company was used in the leaflet said he did not know the men and had not operated the company for nine months – but he would now report its use to police.
A Consumer Affairs spokeswoman said itinerant traders purporting to be from Westside Roofing and Guttering had been reported in Wembley, Maylands and now Mosman Park since January 29 – of which two resulted in work.
The spokeswoman said work started at the second victim’s home, but the traders left after being told $700 in cash was not available for its payment.
“Unsolicited sales give consumers a 10 business day cooling off period before work begins or money is paid, so itinerant traders who do the job and take the money during this period are breaking the law,” she said.
The original operator of Westside had made contact with the department.
The spokeswoman said the public should get several quotes from companies that are checked for their legitimacy.
Report suspicious traders to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 30 40 54.
Tips for dealing with tradesmen:
– Pay a 10 per cent deposit.
– A credit card payment can be reversed.
– Record payments, get receipt or invoices with the business details.
– Get quotes from industry-recognised tradespeople.
– Search internet for positive or negative reviews.
– Verifying claims by seeing previous work and clients..
– Checking registration at www.accc.gov.au or www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au.
Source: Consumer Protection.