Consumer Protection’s Geraldton office is issuing a ‘bitumen bandit’ alert after local consumers reported two workmen, with Irish accents, in a white Mitsubishi van offering to lay driveways – in one instance a cost of about $5,500 was quoted.Homeowners should refuse to do business with anyone who knocks on the door out-of-the-blue offering to carry out work. Instead research reputable local companies, check that they are registered (e.g. search at asic.gov.au) and obtain three quotes before deciding who to go with. Anyone who comes into contact with itinerant traders offering on-the-spot jobs is urged to report the incident to the national travelling conmen hotline 1300 133 408. Information such as vehicle registration numbers, descriptions of the people and names or business details given would be very useful. However, the workmen, who are not abiding by the door to door trading laws often do not give a business name or address, just a mobile phone number. Usually what they are offering is overpriced and sub-standard work. They are difficult to track down for a refund or to make a warranty claim if you’re not satisfied. They are breaking consumer law by not observing a ten day cooling off period for unsolicited (uninvited) sales. During those ten days a consumer has time to think over the deal and cancel if they choose, so no work should be carried out and no money taken. Our advice is simply say NO.
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