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Unacceptable of-fence by Gold Coast fencer

A Highland Park fencer has been ordered to pay $4,000 within 12 months or face 21 days in prison after failing to provide fencing for consumers who had paid for his services.

On 10 September 2021, in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court, Andrew Steven Morrison, who trades as Straight-Up Construction and Maintenance was convicted for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law after charges were laid by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Mr Morrison was found guilty of two counts of failing to supply goods and services within a reasonable period of time.

He did not attend court and was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay a total of $2,384 compensation to affected consumers. A conviction was recorded, and Mr Morrison faces 21 days imprisonment if he fails to pay his fine within 12 months.

The court heard that between November 2020 and April 2021, Mr Morrison accepted deposits from consumers for the supply and installation of fencing on properties in Brisbane’s south side.

The consumers were told to pay their deposits to confirm a start date for the fencing. However, after receiving deposits he did not commence any of the work, stringing the consumers along for months, stating that weather disruptions had led to him being behind on other jobs.

After rescheduling the consumers multiple times, Mr Morrison then cut all communication with them. Consumers received no further contact from Straight-up Construction and Maintenance and any attempts to get a refund were unsuccessful.

In one instance, a consumer from Beenleigh was quoted $3,180 for the supply and installation of a fence. The consumer paid $1,500 and was told that the work would begin in December 2020.

Mr Morrison rebooked the job multiple times between December 2020 and March 2021, but each time failed to begin the work or refund the consumer.

Mr Morrison also failed to respond to the OFT when it made inquiries about this matter on the consumer’s behalf.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said the outcome served as a reminder to traders not to quote for jobs and accept money if they are not able to undertake the work when they say they will or, if no date is given, within a reasonable time.

“Consumers should always do their research, not pay large sums of money up front, and only use reputable traders.” Ms Thomson said.

“Check whether they are licensed with the QBCC, ask friends and family for recommendations, check reviews, and ask traders for examples of their previous work you can view.”

If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they can lodge a complaint with the OFT online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).