Consumers in Kyogle and surrounding areas are being warned about travelling conmen moving through the area selling bitumen services.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said that the Lismore Fair Trading office received a tip-off from a Kyogle resident that itinerant traders could be preparing to approach unsuspecting home and business owners in the area.
‘I urge consumers in the Kyogle area to be cautious of traders moving door-to-door offering cut-price services and products,’ Mr Stowe said.
‘In this instance the consumer was approached by a young man with an Irish accent driving a white wagon who offered cheap services with ‘leftover’ bitumen.
‘Travelling conmen offer services that sound genuine and of a high standard, though in reality they are of poor quality and often incomplete. Customers are often left with a mess that costs more to repair.
‘Bitumen services are the most common service peddled by travelling conmen, with traders using elaborate stories to lure in and rip off consumers.’
Dodgy bitumen traders have reportedly told customers:
- their vehicle has broken down and they need to get rid of stock
- they have recently completed a job and they are selling the leftover product
- they are in the area as they have just completed a big job at a neighbour’s property.
Last month a consumer in Queanbeyan reportedly paid $1,000 to a trader travelling door-to-door. The customer paid cash up front to have their driveway sealed, but the job was poorly completed and the customer was left with rubble and mess throughout their yard.
Mr Stowe said under the Australian Consumer Law, any unsolicited agreement for services valued over $100 has a 10 day cooling off period, during which the consumer is not required to pay anything.
For work requiring a contractor’s licence, consumers can check licence details online at the Fair Trading website, www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.
The Australian Consumer Law prohibits contractors from intimidating or threatening consumers for payment. If consumers feel threatened they should call NSW Police immediately.