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Gold Coast trader fined

A Gold Coast trader has been fined $15,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court (29 August 2022) after leaving a consumer out of pocket.

An investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that David James Matthew Ross, who was the sole operator of DJM Homes, accepted payment to build a granny flat on a consumer’s property, but failed to complete the build.

Mr Ross pleaded guilty and was fined $15,000 for failing to provide the service within a reasonable time.

The court heard that in September 2018, Mr Ross quoted $440,000 to build a granny flat on his customer’s property with the expected completion date being October 2019.

During the early stages of the build, Mr Ross accepted further payments from the consumer after they were issued invoices.

After the October 2019 deadline had passed, the build was still not complete as Mr Ross had supplied only a fraction of the services agreed to.

The consumer received compensation through the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Home Warranty Scheme for the initial deposit for the build. In addition, Mr Ross paid the consumer $20,000 in compensation prior to the court hearing.

Mr Ross is no longer licensed to carry out this type of building work.

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

“Traders must not accept payment from consumers if they know, or ought to reasonably know, they can’t deliver the goods or services by the agreed date,” Ms Thomson said.

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).