Bond cleaner fined after leaving consumers in a mess
1 June 2016
Today (1 June 2016) an Alstonville woman was fined $5,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for taking money from consumers and failing to supply cleaning services.
Cassandra Nicole Cooney pleaded guilty to 6 charges of wrongly accepting payment and failing to supply services within a specified time. Ms Cooney operated online cleaning businesses offering bond cleaning services to consumers in capital cities around Australia.
The court heard between 3 March and 18 July 2013, Ms Cooney accepted payments from six consumers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to provide end of tenancy bond cleans. Consumers were asked to pay deposits in advance.
Ms Cooney gave a commitment in each instance to have the work completed within 72 hours of the dates nominated by the consumers. However, she failed to provide any of the six consumers the promised cleaning services, breaching the businesses’ own terms and conditions promoted online.
Ms Cooney had prior opportunity to refund affected consumers for some time yet waited until just prior to the court appearance. Her actions undermined consumer confidence in online businesses.
The Magistrate commented that while no conviction was recorded, a personal deterrent needed to be set.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the outcome highlighted the need for business owners to follow contractual obligations, free of deception.
"Consumers expect paid services to be delivered in a timely manner,” Mr Bauer said.
“Failure to provide services of this nature when time is of the essence contributes to the strain on landlords and consumers alike.
“Unscrupulous behaviour by traders will not be tolerated. OFT will continue to pursue and prosecute traders who fail to supply goods and services in cases like this, violating Australian Consumer Law.”
Ms Cooney has also previously been the subject of public warnings by NSW Fair Trading and NT Consumer Affairs.
OFT warns consumers not to deal with Ms Cooney, who is known to operate under various business names including:
- Total Domestic
- Bond Cleaners Australia
- Bond Cleaners Trust
- Express Bond Cleaning
- Express End of Lease Cleaning
- Express Home Cleaning
- Express Commercial Cleans
- Express Professional Services
- Easy Cleaning Services
- Simple Cleans
- Moving Out Cleans
Consumers can make a complaint about a trader and find information on their consumer rights at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.