Bandits caught out in bitumen driveway scam as Redlands complaint surfaces

THE Office of Fair trading has returned more than $8 million to consumers who were ripped-off by dodgy traders and scam artists last year.

DRIVEWAY: The bitumen laid by a contractor at a Sheldon business.

DRIVEWAY: The bitumen laid by a contractor at a Sheldon business.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said a bitumen bandit and dog breeder were among those caught by the OFT after settling more than 15,800 complaints in 2019.

It comes after an elderly Sheldon business owner approached the Redland City Bulletin late last year, saying that she had paid $6600 to a man offering cheap bitumen driveways.

She said he worked for fewer than three hours, and she regretted her haste in paying for what she believed was a poor standard of work.

The man had said he had done a job nearby and had bitumen left over.

An OFT spokesman said door-to-door salesmen targeted elderly people who had trouble maintaining their properties.

He said people should ask for a Queensland Building and Construction Commission licence, refuse to pay for anything upfront and demand a receipt with the contractor's name and address.

Mrs D'Ath said the bitumen bandit prosecuted by the OFT was fined $64,000 for failing to meet consumer obligations.

"In the last 12 months, the OFT has also taken traders in several industries to court for breaches of consumer legislation," she said.

"This includes a Toowoomba dog breeder who was fined $14,500 for failing to supply puppies and a tradie fined $10,000 for failing to install pool fences.

"All three of these traders were also ordered to provide refunds to consumers."

Mrs D'Ath said the OFT were working to create a fair and safe marketplace for all Queenslanders through a combination of compliance, enforcement and education activities.

"The vast majority of Queensland traders comply with the law and are committed to good customer service, but there's always a minority that aren't doing the right thing," she said.

"The results from 2019 are a testament to the great work of the Office of Fair Trading and effectiveness of Queensland's consumer protection regime."

Bitumen bandits have previously been seen at Thornlands and Birkdale.

A Mount Cotton man was also offered a cheap entertainment system by white van traders while stopped at traffic lights in November last year.

Consumers can lodge a complaint against a trader at qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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