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May 13, 2021

Beware of flood damage scams

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NSW Fair Trading is warning consumers about opportunistic tradespeople trying to take advantage during the flood recovery process as the state gets back on its feet.

Commissioner for NSW Fair Trading Rose Webb said unfortunately scammers often try to take advantage of vulnerable people during times like these. She urged consumers to be on the alert.

‘With the destructive floods across NSW, consumers are reminded that anyone who undertakes work to rebuild or repair damaged homes is required to have a valid licence,’ said Ms Webb.

‘Avoid workers who simply show up without contact to offer their services and
consumers should also check with their insurance provider before authorising any home repairs,’ she said.

The Commissioner also suggested consumers should avoid cash transactions if possible, in case chargebacks from financial institutions are required. ‘It’s also a good idea to ask family and friends for a recommendation rather than choosing a trader from an advertisement,’ said Ms Webb.

NSW Fair Trading warns that recent cases which have come to their attention include unlicensed tradespeople targeting affected communities by offering house repairs, concreting, paving, structural landscaping, and roof repairs. These services require a licence if the work is valued at over $5000.

Fair Trading offers an online tool on its website where consumers can verify licence details and check whether a contractor or tradesperson is qualified to do the job.

Consumer advice

When choosing a tradesperson or contractor, NSW Fair Trading advises:

  • Get two or more written quotes for the job
  • Do not hand over money before meeting your tradesperson
  • Ask the trader for references and examples of past work
  • Avoid payments without a written contract
  • Avoid traders who charge significant deposits

Anyone who has had problems in their dealings with tradespeople or contractors can lodge a complaint online. For more information about what to look out for when rebuilding after a natural disaster, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/news-and-updates/news/natural-disasters

 


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