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South Australian man fined for keeping deposit

18 May 2017

A South Australian man was fined a total of $4,500 and ordered to pay court costs by the Redcliffe Magistrates Court yesterday (17 May 2017), following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

James Strain Richmond, who operated an unregistered business known as Belfast Removals, was fined $4,000, and ordered to pay $500 in restitution for wrongly accepting payment under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The court heard Mr Richmond, who advertised his removalist services through Facebook and Gumtree, accepted an up-front deposit of $500 in 2015 from a consumer for removalist services on an agreed date. Mr Richmond contacted the consumer two days prior to the agreed date, requesting further payment and to change the agreed upon date. A change of date was not suitable to the consumer and the consumer requested a refund from Mr Richmond.

The court heard the OFT began investigating Mr Richmond after receiving a complaint from the consumer.

The court further heard the OFT also requested Mr Richmond refund the $500 deposit, and when he refused to do so issued a civil penalty notice (CPN) for $2,040 which went unpaid. The OFT subsequently issued Mr Richmond with a complaint and summons to appear in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court.

In sentencing, the court considered Mr Richmond’s failure to pay the previously issued CPN and his lack of concern over his offending, demonstrated by his failure to appear in court.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said traders can ruin consumer confidence in an industry when they fail to supply services paid for.

“A deposit is an agreement between a consumer and trader – one that says I’m going to provide the goods and services that were paid for,” Mr Bauer said.

“It is important traders understand and abide by their legal obligations under the ACL.”

If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they are encouraged to make a complaint to the OFT online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for advice.

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Last updated
18 May 2017
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