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Landscaper digs himself a hole after retaining money

A Logan trader has been convicted and ordered to pay $30,500 in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court (19 August 2022) after charges were laid by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Michael Frederick Jan Doevendans, operator of Micks Retaining Walls & Maintenance, pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching the Australian Consumer Law after failing to supply goods and services.

Mr Doevendans was fined $5,500 and ordered to pay $25,000 in compensation to affected consumers. A conviction was recorded.

Mr Doevendans had a warrant issued to appear in court after he previously failed to attend.

The court heard that between October 2020 and November 2021, Mr Doevendans accepted payments from several consumers totalling over $63,000, for the removal and construction of retaining walls and fencing on properties in Brisbane and Hervey Bay.

Consumers paid large deposits to Mr Doevendans after being promised that the work would commence and be completed within a few days. However, Mr Doevendans did not complete the jobs, stringing some consumers along for a number of months claiming to have supplier issues.

One consumer paid a $15,000 deposit to Mr Doevendans to have existing retaining walls removed and replaced. Mr Doevendans began work but later threatened the consumer, demanding more money for the removal of rock and dirt, or he would leave it in the consumer’s driveway. The consumer paid a further $10,000, but Mr Doevendans never returned to finish the job leaving the property in a dangerous state.

Mr Doevendans refused to refund customers stating they were simply ‘changing their minds’ about the services. However, after waiting months for rescheduled start dates the consumers still hadn’t received the services or a refund.

In sentencing, Magistrate Trinity McGarvie noted the serious and dishonest conduct over a nine-month period and the need to ensure that the community is aware of this dishonesty.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said traders risked lowering consumer’s confidence in the marketplace when they failed to supply goods or services that had been paid for.

“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses must not accept payment for products or services if they are not able to supply them,” Ms Thomson said.

“It is important for traders to understand, and abide by, their legal obligations.”

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