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Beware unlicensed tradies: Fair Trading

By Staff Reporter
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Renovators are putting themselves at risk by using unlicensed tradespeople, NSW Fair Trading has warned.

New research by the regulatory body shows 90 per cent of people who hired home building tradespeople did not check their licence details on the NSW Fair Trading website.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts said homeowners who do not check whether a tradie is licensed are risking damage or substandard work in their property.

“In one case, a Sydney family paid an unlicensed tradesman $76,000 for renovations on their home, but the man forged the details of a licensed tradesperson. He was found guilty and fined in court,” Mr Roberts said.

In the last financial year, there were 37 prosecutions and 204 complaints regarding unlicensed tradespeople in New South Wales, Mr Roberts said.

The research conducted by Fair Trading found only 13 per cent of people think it is essential to check a tradie’s licence details.

Nearly 50 per cent of respondents said they would use an unlicensed tradie recommended by someone they trust.

“All people have to do to protect themselves is run a free licence check on the Fair Trading website because without a licence, the work is uninsured,” Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts said anyone hiring a tradie should also get three written quotes, ask for references and have a written contract for work costing more than $1,000.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) agreed people should be encouraged to check their worker’s credentials.

“A valid licence ensures the person carrying out the building or trade work is appropriately skilled and qualified to do so,” HIA NSW executive director David Bare said.

“The ability to check that tradespeople are licensed is a very important consumer protection mechanism introduced by Fair Trading.”

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