Gold Coast tradie walks all over consumer rights

10 November 2020

A Gold Coast floorer has been ordered to pay $16,000 after prosecution by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for leaving a consumer without their new floor.

Matthew Joshua Gregory, who operated under the partnership MJ Gregory & BA Pitts, was taken to court following an investigation by the OFT under the Australian Consumer Law.

Mr Gregory was found guilty of failing to supply goods and services to a consumer within a reasonable time. He was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $6,000 in compensation to the consumer. No conviction was recorded. The matter was heard ex-parte as Mr Gregory did not attend court.

The Southport Magistrates Court heard that in February 2020, Mr Gregory agreed to remove the old tiles and supply and install a new timber floor in the home of a Varsity Lakes consumer at a cost of $10,000.

The consumer paid a $6,000 deposit and on 7 March 2020 Mr Gregory began removing the tiles. However, he left at lunch time that day and failed to return to complete the job.

Despite repeated promises, Mr Gregory never returned to finish the work and the consumer was left without a complete floor.

In sentencing Magistrate Pamela Dowse said that the matter was an outrage and that it was despicable that the defendant didn’t pay any money back to the consumer.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said traders risked consumer confidence in the marketplace by failing to supply goods or services.

“Traders must not accept payment for products or services if they are not able to supply them within a reasonable time frame,” Mr Bauer said.

“This consumer paid a deposit expecting to receive a service within a reasonable period of time and this did not occur.”

The OFT encourages consumers who have purchased goods or services but have not received them to approach the trader for a refund in the first instance. If unsuccessful, they can lodge a complaint with the OFT online or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).