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Court fines Gympie cabin seller $30,000 for failing to deliver goods

A Gympie businessman was ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and $50,836 in compensation by the local magistrates court today (20 February 2020) after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to supply goods.

Peter John Murray, director of Peters Cabins Pty Ltd, was found guilty of accepting a deposit payment for a cabin but failing to supply it and associated services under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). A conviction was recorded.

The matter was heard ex-parte as Mr Murray did not attend court.

The court heard that in October 2017, Mr Murray was contracted to construct and supply a two-bedroom cabin and accepted a deposit of $5,715 and a commencement payment of $37,159 from a customer.

Mr Murray requested a further payment of $14,400 for driveway construction at the site in February 2018.

By 30 May 2018, no work had begun at the site and by July 2018, the customer requested a full refund of $57,274. This was never returned to the customer and the work was never started.

The consumer was subsequently able to recover $6,438 through the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Home Warranty Scheme but the remainder of their outlay remained outstanding.

In sentencing, the Magistrate Christopher Callaghan said the court needed to set a deterrent for this sort of behaviour.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said businesses had obligations to consumers under the ACL.

“The OFT will take action against businesses that accept money from consumers and fail to supply the goods within a reasonable timeframe,” Mr Bauer said.

“This consumer paid a significant deposit expecting to receive a product which never materialised. I am pleased that the OFT was able to achieve such a high penalty in this matter.”

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