Real estate investors have been given a timely reminder to check the credentials of tradies before giving them a deposit following the prosecution of a West Australian renovator.
Mark Edward Straw of Warnbro, trading as C.C. Renoes, was convicted of three charges of accepting payments from consumers but failing to begin or complete work and one charge of making false or misleading representation.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said Straw has a shocking history of ripping off his clients.
“Since 2013, Mr Straw has been the subject of numerous public warnings and prosecutions but he continues to thumb his nose at the law and the authorities that enforce it,” Ms Chopping said.
“He extracts as much money as he can from consumers in the form of deposits or full payments, then does very little of the agreed work. In some cases, the little work he does carry out creates huge inconvenience for his clients with bathrooms left gutted and unusable and carport slabs broken.”
In February 2018, a Thornlie consumer accepted a quote to install internal walls and partitioning to a carport and subsequently paid a total of $2,500 in deposits for a $4,500 job. Straw broke the slab in preparation of the work, but no other work was carried out and no refund was offered.
In December 2017, a Kallaroo consumer paid a $2,805 deposit for a contract valued at $5,100 for some general carpentry work. Straw removed some cladding and tiles and painted some timber, but failed to complete the majority of the work or provide a refund.
In November 2017, a Kelmscott consumer paid the full amount of $9,000 in several payments for a bathroom renovation and ceiling repairs. After gutting the bathroom, work stopped even though the final payment was made. The job was never completed by Straw and no refund was provided.
“Our strong advice to WA consumers is never deal with Mr Straw or any of the businesses he promotes, and certainly don’t pay large deposits or full amounts to any tradie,” Ms Chopping concluded.