Bogus landscaper fails to make an appearance
14 June 2019
A Moreton Bay landscaper has been convicted and ordered to pay more than $12,359 in fines and compensation at the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today (14 June 2019) following charges laid by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Nathan Charles Bogan, sole proprietor of Nate Scapes - which offered landscaping work - failed to appear in court and was found guilty of one count of wrongly accepting payment and failing to supply services under the ACL.
Mr Bogan was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $2,359.17 in compensation to the affected consumer.
The court heard Mr Bogan provided a quote of $2,359.17 for landscaping services to a Highvale resident. The trader accepted the money on 19 September 2017 and promised to commence work at the property within the week.
Mr Bogan did not show up to do the work on the promised date and rescheduled the project to December 2017, and again to January 2018. During this time, the consumer asked for the materials for the job to be delivered but these were never supplied.
The landscaper never started the work and eventually ceased contact with the consumer, refusing to refund the monies. He avoided the OFT and behaved evasively throughout the investigation.
Magistrate Trevor Morgan noted Mr Bogan failed several times to show up to do the work, made several excuses to the consumer and never returned the money after she demanded it.
He also noted the defendant avoided all interaction with the OFT and failed to appear in court.
Magistrate Morgan commented that the impact for consumers of this conduct that is of a commercial nature must be closely scrutinised by Fair Trading, particularly when the laws and rights of consumers are ignored, and that a significant penalty was appropriate.
Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said he was pleased the court noted in sentencing the fact the landscaper had attempted to avoid the OFT and had behaved evasively throughout the investigation.
“Today’s decision is a reminder that unscrupulous traders looking to rip off consumers will not be tolerated in the Queensland marketplace,” Mr Turner said.
The OFT encourages any consumer who has been unable to resolve a dispute with this trader to lodge a complaint via the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.