DODGY door-to-door tradies are targeting residents throughout Perth, with scammers sighted in Inglewood and North Perth this week.
This week the Voice heard of two very pushy blokes offering tree lopping services in Inglewood, and roof repair scammers targeting the elderly in North Perth.
Consumer Protection WA reports that in a recent case, two men told a Cannington homeowner his roof needed repairs. One of them went up on the roof and returned with a broken tile. The homeowner suspected the repairman had broken the tile himself, and declined their services.
A senior couple in Fremantle also lodged a report about being approached by roof repairers.
But in some good news, the Voice’s sister paper, the Fremantle Herald, helped to foil the dodgy roofers this week.
They’d preyed on a 60-something retiree and were part-way through what a pretty dodgy repair job when she received her copy of the Herald and saw a story warning about their suspicious behaviour.
She waved the story under their noses and they fled; fortunately she’d only parted with half the money they had demanded and she immediately called the police.
In their haste to scamper, the scammers left some bibs and bobs on the roof that police hope will prove incriminating.
Like the northern suburbs conmen, the scammers were reported to have Irish accents.
WA Consumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping issued a warning this week telling people to be wary of tradies who show up uninvited.
She said “under the Australian Consumer Law a cooling off period applies to unsolicited sales and means no money can change hands and no work be carried out for ten business days; in which time the consumer can cancel the contract without penalty.
“Even if you have invited a tradesperson to your home to only provide a quote, the cooling off period still applies.
“We recommend that consumers get more than one quote for work around the home and check the credentials of the business before signing any contracts or handing over any money. Ask for references, inspect previous work and carry out an internet search of the business name to see if positive or negative comments arise.
“Conmen often operate door-to-door and can charge exorbitant rates for sub-standard work, if any work is carried out at all.
“Itinerant workmen use clever sales pitches to get consumers to agree to have their roofs repaired at a supposedly low cost. The initial pitch will usually be friendly and helpful pointing out how lucky it is that they spotted some issues.
“In reality, the price is often more than the dodgy job is worth.
“It’s also difficult for consumers to track down these traders for a refund, or to make a warranty claim, if they are not satisfied.”
If you need a legitimate tradie, check the Voice’s Trades & Services section.
If workers knock on your door unsolicited, or want immediate payment or to carry out work straight away, report the details to Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54.
by DAVID BELL