A tradesman has been forced to front $10,000 in fines after taking two “substantial” deposits from property owners and then failing to complete the jobs at hand.
Appearing in theMagistrates Court, Walter Steven Vermeulen of Ratio Design pleaded guilty to accepting payments for goods and services but failing to supply them, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law Act.
The first charge related to Mr Vermeulen accepting deposit payments in March 2018 totalling $9,200 from a Mt Lawley consumer to supply and install new kitchen cupboards for a total quoted cost of $22,897, according to a statement from the WA branch of Consumer Protection.
Mr Vermeulen performed “some work” on two occasions but then failed to return to the home to complete the work. The consumer then contracted another tradesperson to complete the job.
The second charge related to Mr Vermeulen accepting a deposit payment of $1,150 in September 2018 from a Morley consumer to construct and install a home entertainment unit for a total quoted cost of $1,720. He failed to supply or install the entertainment unit and has not refunded the deposit, according to the statement.
The court fined Mr Vermeulen $8,000 and $2,000, respectively. He was also ordered to pay legal costs of $977.20.
Commenting on the decision, Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard advised home owners: “We recommend no more than 10 per cent of the total cost for a deposit in most circumstances and only pay the balance when the work is completed to your satisfaction.”
“For larger jobs, we recommend that consumers make progress payments as stages of the job are completed and materials have been delivered.
“Apart from the financial loss that consumers suffer when tradies don’t deliver on their promises, there are also losses in terms of time, stress and inconvenience, especially if the result is a partially completed renovation.”