Fair Trading warns against dealing with Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd
24 February 2017
The Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued a formal warning to Australian businesses and consumers to avoid dealing with the Brisbane-based company ‘Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd’ or its director, Mark Dougal Rentoul.
Mark Rentoul is the sole director of Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd, who conducts asbestos testing for residential and commercial sites, including local councils. Testing is done by taking samples from buildings and sending them to an independent laboratory to confirm the presence of asbestos.
The OFT began investigating after receiving a complaint from a regional council alleging that Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd had invoiced it for testing a number of samples that had not actually been sent to a laboratory.
Further investigations showed that Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd was consistently invoicing for samples taken but not tested. . The original complainant had been invoiced for asbestos analysis of 178 samples but only 60 had been tested. A second organisation had only 101 samples tested but was invoiced for analysis of 447 samples.
The OFT is aware of businesses with 700 locations which have had more than $1 million worth of work conducted by Asbestos Audit. Another organisation in NSW had previously engaged Asbestos Audit for $1.7 million worth of services.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said consumers and businesses were warned to avoid dealing with Asbestos Audit and Mark Rentoul.
“Not only is Asbestos Audit making misleading representations about its services and accepting payment for services not delivered, but this behaviour is potentially putting people’s health at risk,” he said.
“The deceptive behaviour is unacceptable, especially when those responsible for engaging Asbestos Audit’s services have been of the genuine belief Mr Rentoul ran a company providing comprehensive testing services.
“Asbestos is a very dangerous substance, posing health risks if disturbed and Mr Rentoul’s behaviour has the potential to pose a significant health risk to communities.”
Mr Bauer said anyone who has had dealings with Asbestos Audit or Mr Rentoul should contact the OFT immediately.
“It’s possible there are several victims who are unaware that they have been misled,” he said.
“The OFT will continue its investigation in order to identify other clients of Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd and take action under the Australian Consumer Law.”
The OFT is liaising with all Australian state, territory and Commonwealth consumer protection agencies and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland about the investigation into Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd and Mr Rentoul.
All businesses or councils, regardless of their location, who have engaged Asbestos Audit’s or Mark Rentoul’s services since 2013, are encouraged to contact the Queensland OFT by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or by making a complaint online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.