Bond cleaner at the end of a slippery slope
20 March 2017
A Brisbane man was ordered to pay more than $10,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court (17 March 2017), after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for making false and misleading statements and failing to supply cleaning services.
Deepak Verma operated an online cleaning business, Quality Cleaning Services, offering bond cleaning services, pest control, and carpet cleaning to consumers across Queensland.
Mr Verma pleaded guilty on six counts of making false or misleading statements and six counts of failing to supply all of the cleaning services paid for by consumers.
Mr Verma was fined $7,000 and ordered to repay $3,321.60 to six affected consumers.
The Court heard between 15 March 2015 and 27 April 2016, Mr Verma accepted payments from eight consumers in Brisbane to provide end of tenancy cleans with a ‘100% bond back guarantee’.
In addition to the guarantee, Mr Verma’s website provided a checklist, which was a detailed list of all the cleaning that would be carried out. Not only did the bond cleans not pass property exit inspections, but also items on the list were not completed.
Mr Verma failed to clean the properties to an acceptable standard and did not refund the consumers their money. The consumers were either forced to pay other cleaners to get their bonds back, or have an amount removed from their bond.
The Court considered Mr Verma’s failure to uphold his bond back guarantee which caused financial disadvantage and inconvenience to consumers.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said failing to provide services of this nature was a strain on landlords and consumers alike.
“Consumers are paying for cleaning services in an attempt to do right by their landlords, leaving them with a clean house,” Mr Bauer said.
“Moving house is stressful and costly enough, without the threat of losing your bond, or being forced to fork out for a second bond clean.
“If a cleaning business is going to advertise a bond back guarantee, they need follow through on that promise.”
Consumers can make a complaint about a trader and find information on their consumer rights at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).