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Brisbane builder fined $13,000 for abandoning ensuite reno

A Brisbane builder and his company have been ordered to pay $13,000 in fines in the Brisbane Magistrates Court (17 June 2022) after leaving a consumer with an unfinished ensuite.

An investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found Matthew Todd Cooley, director of Renovations Brisbane Pty Ltd, accepted payment for building work but failed to complete the job.

Mr Cooley and Renovations Brisbane Pty Ltd were conjointly charged with one breach of Australian Consumer Law. Mr Cooley was fined $3,000 and his company fined $10,000.

The court heard that Mr Cooley and his company had accepted a $8,000 payment from a consumer to complete ensuite renovations. The renovations commenced but Mr Cooley failed to return to complete the job.

Mr Cooley also failed to comply with a notice sent to him by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to rectify the work. His licence was cancelled in May 2021.

The consumer was compensated through the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Home Warranty Scheme.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said it was not acceptable for a trader to ignore their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

“The OFT will take action against businesses that accept money from consumers and fail to supply the goods within a reasonable timeframe,” Ms Thomson said.

“Ask friends and family for recommendations, check reviews, and ask traders for examples of their previous work you can view and clients you can talk to before you engage someone for a service.”

If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they should raise the issue with the trader. If this does not rectify the situation, they are encouraged to lodge a complaint to the OFT either online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).