During a state of emergency, some door-to-door trading rules are relaxed. Only the Queensland or Australian governments can declare a state of emergency. This usually happens as a result of a natural disaster.
Know the rules
Usually, door-to-door traders must give a 10 business day cooling-off period for work over $100 when they approach a customer.
However, this does not apply for emergency repairs.
Emergency repairs can only be about fixing:
- a hazard or potential hazard
- a health and safety risk
- a risk of serious damage to your property.
For example, a builder may offer to fix your roof after a cyclone. However, they still need a current Queensland or Commonwealth licence (such as a builder’s or contractor’s licence).
Check the trader
Make sure to do some research about any trader who offers to do emergency repairs.
The door-to-door trader must:
- hold the relevant government licence to do the work
- only carry out repairs that relate to the disaster
- follow the rules for permitted hours.
This means you should:
- ask the trader for their identification
- check any company or business name details with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission
- do an online check of their Australian Business Number.
If they claim to be a builder:
- ask to see their Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) licence
- check the QBCC website to see their history and if their licence details match what they told you.
Always ask for quotes, and give yourself time to think it through.
Make sure that you:
- don’t feel pressured to take up an offer on the spot
- get everything in writing
- make sure all quotes, invoices and receipts include the trader’s name, ABN and address
- check with your insurance company first.
Check their quotes carefully to avoid being overcharged. Some dodgy traders:
- add extra square metres to the quote
- make deliberate mistakes in adding up the cost.
Don’t get stung
- Do not pay cash or pay for anything upfront, even for materials.
- If you pay by credit card, you may be able to apply to your bank for a chargeback if things go wrong.