OFT turns up the heat on air con non-supplier
A Calamvale electrician has been ordered to pay more than $11,000 in fines and compensation following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Samuel James Goodwin, who traded as Turned On Electrical and Air Conditioning, did not appear in the Richlands Magistrates Court on 11 May 2021 and the matter was heard ex-parte. Mr Goodwin was found guilty of two breaches of the ACL by accepting money and failing to supply goods and services within a reasonable time, and by making false representations of goods and services he provided.
Mr Goodwin was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay a total of $1,413 in compensation to two consumers. A conviction was recorded.
The court heard that on 9 January 2020 a consumer paid a deposit of $1,250 to Mr Goodwin for the supply and installation of two air conditioners. It was agreed that these were to be installed on 14 January 2020.
Mr Goodwin did not attend the premises to install the air conditioners on the agreed date and cancelled several further scheduled installation appointments. The consumer sought numerous updates from Mr Goodwin but did not receive a response.
On 17 February 2020 the consumer sought a refund from Mr Goodwin but was not successful.
The court also heard that a consumer obtained a quote from Mr Goodwin for the installation of two air conditioners in their home, one 5kW and one 3.5kW. The consumer accepted the quote and the 5kW air conditioner was installed in late 2019.
Mr Goodwin returned in February 2020 and installed the 3.5kw air conditioner, however the following month it began to leak. The consumer tried to contact Mr Goodwin for assistance but when that failed he hired another electrician. This second electrician discovered that only a 2.5kW unit had been installed and not the 3.5kW unit the consumer had paid for.
The consumer sent messages to Mr Goodwin informing him the incorrect air conditioner had been installed but Mr Goodwin did not respond and the issue remained unresolved.
In sentencing, Magistrate Stuart Shearer described Mr Goodwin’s behaviour as thoroughly dishonest and he ordered Mr Goodwin to repay the consumers and the fine within two months.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said traders should never represent to consumers that they will supply one product but then provide a different one.
“That sort of conduct is completely unacceptable,” Brian Bauer said.
“The OFT will not tolerate this type of activity and it will take enforcement action against any trader who engages in this sort of unfair practice.
“The OFT encourages consumers who have not received goods they have paid for to approach the trader for a refund in the first instance. If this is unsuccessful, they can lodge a complaint online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.”