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.
Look out for travelling conmen who may turn up at your door unexpectedly. These people are deceptive and misleading, and pretend to be legitimate tradespeople.
Be suspicious of people who:
- turn up at your door unexpectedly offering special one-off or today only deals
- ask for cash up front
- offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
- pressure you into accepting their offer.
If you take up such offers, you run the risk of:
- substandard work
- being left out of pocket if the trader disappears before finishing the job
- being unable to contact the trader once they have been paid
- paying more to have a legitimate tradesperson repair shoddy work.
If you believe you have been approached by a travelling conman contact us.
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 relate to 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 as emergency repairs. However, they still need a current Queensland or Australian Government licence (e.g. 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 (ABN).
If they claim to be a builder or plumber:
- 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.
If they claim to be an electrician or electrical contractor:
- ask to see their Queensland Government issued licence
- check the Worksafe Queensland website to see 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 up front, even materials.
If you pay by credit card, you may be able to apply to your bank for a chargeback if things go wrong.