The $12,000 fine imposed on an unlicensed builder by the Adelaide Magistrates Court this week highlights the need for consumers to do their research.
John James Meyer, 57, pleaded guilty to breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and the Building Work Contractors Act, admitting to taking payments from clients totaling $10,000 for work that was never started.
The Court heard Mr Meyer accepted payments totaling $2400 to refurbish a client’s kitchen, bathroom and laundry – but never completed the work.
Mr Meyer also accepted deposit payments totaling $7600 to renovate a kitchen in a suburban café, and gave his client a fake building licence number.
Mr Meyer did not submit any plans to the council for the renovation and never commenced work on the site despite numerous phone calls from his client.
Master Builders SA Chief Executive Officer Ian Markos urged consumers to do their research before engaging a building contractor.
“Unfortunately rogue operators give the entire industry a bad name,” said Master Builders SA Chief Executive Officer Ian Markos.
“Mr Meyer had a previous conviction for accepting deposits for work that was never undertaken, but this didn’t stop him offending again.
“Individuals and businesses that work in construction, trade, demolition, site preparation and restoration and repairs must be licensed as building contractors.
“The first thing consumers should do is check the Consumer and Business Services website to make sure the builder is legally able to perform the work you want them to.
“You should also ask around and check social media for reviews. If the price seems exceptionally cheap, it could well be too good to be true.
“You should also make sure they are a Master Builders member to ensure you are dealing with somebody who is appropriately licensed and qualified as a master builder.
“Consumers are always very welcome to call Master Builders to confirm details.”