Fencing tradie fined and ordered to pay consumer compensation (Sam Gossage / Sam’s Handyman and Fencing Services)

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A fencing contractor has been fined $2,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay compensation of $1,000 to a Gooseberry Hill consumer after taking a deposit but failing to do the work.

Samuel Michael Gossage of Thornlie, trading as Sam’s Handyman and Fencing Services (unregistered), was also ordered to pay costs of $2,000 when he pleaded guilty on 2 February 2018 to breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

In August 2015, Mr Gossage entered into a contract with the consumer to supply and install gates and fencing at their home for $1,900 and accepted a $1,000 deposit. It was agreed the work would be carried out within two weeks but no materials were supplied or work begun. Each time the consumer called, Mr Gossage hung up.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the ACL clearly provides that once money is accepted and the contract is confirmed, the work has to be carried out within the agreed timeframe or within a reasonable time.

“To take money, fail to carry out the work and then offer no refund is a serious breach of consumer law and tradespeople who engage in this misconduct will find themselves being prosecuted,” Mr Hillyard said.

“In this case, the consumer paid more than 50% of the contract price as a deposit. Our recommendation is to pay no more than a 10% deposit in most cases, which reduces the financial risk if the tradie does a runner.”

Consumers who have issues with tradespeople taking deposits and then failing to begin or complete the work can contact Consumer Protection by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
06 Feb 2018

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