Print

Fair Trading digs the dirt on Kallangur landscaper

20 January 2021

A Kallangur landscaper has been ordered to pay $21,348 by the Brisbane Magistrates court after charges were laid by the Office of Fair Trading for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Luke William Reeves was fined $12,000 for accepting payment for landscaping and fencing but failing to complete the work within a reasonable time.

He was also ordered to pay a total of $9,245 in compensation to two consumers. No conviction was recorded.

The court heard that between October 2019 and December 2019, Mr Reeves accepted deposits from two neighbouring consumers for landscape work and the installation of a fence and side gate.

One consumer accepted a quote of $8,368.25 and paid an initial deposit of $4,000. A second $4,000 payment was requested by Mr Reeves before he agreed on a start date, taking the total paid by this consumer to $8,000.

Despite receiving most of the quoted fee Mr Reeves failed to show up to do the job. Mr Reeves rescheduled the work on a number of occasions but after repeatedly failing to appear the consumer demanded a refund. In March 2020 Mr Reeves offered to return the money in weekly installments of $125 but paid only one installment.

The second consumer accepted a quote of $3,950 and paid a deposit of $1,495. Mr Reeves failed to appear on the agreed start date and rescheduled the work a number of times. Mr Reeves did eventually go to the premises and marked out the worksite however he failed to return. When the consumer sought a refund of their deposit he offered to repay the consumer in weekly installments but he made only one payment.

The matter was heard in the Brisbane Magistrates court on 15 January 2021. Magistrate Robbie Davies remarked on the significant dishonesty involved in this matter, with money taken for jobs but the work not performed and promises made to refund the consumers but with only one payment made to them.

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

“The ACL states that traders must not accept payments for products or services if they are not able to supply them,” Mr Bauer said.

“In this instance two consumers each paid a significant deposit expecting to receive a service that never materialised.

“If a trader accepts money from a consumer and fails to supply the goods or services within the specified timeframe, or if no time is specified then a reasonable timeframe, the OFT will investigate.”

If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they should raise the issue with the trader.  If they are not able 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).

Consumers considering a building or landscaping project can visit the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s website to check if a trader is appropriately licensed.