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Unacceptable of-fence by Kallangur trader

19 October 2018

A Kallangur fencing contractor was ordered to pay $35,616 in fines and compensation by the Brisbane Magistrate Court today (19 October 2018) following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

Waisea Volavola Varani, sole director of the now defunct Varani Holdings Pty Ltd, was found guilty on two counts of failing to supply goods and services under the Australian Consumer Law.

Mr Varani was fined $19,000 and ordered to pay a total of $16,616 to two affected consumers.

The court heard that between 27 October 2017 and 23 February 2018 Mr Varani quoted and accepted payment from two consumers for the supply and installation of fencing, including landscaping works totalling $16,616.

Mr Varani attended one job, but installed the fence on the incorrect boundary line before cancelling the job part way through its completion. He said he would give a refund to the consumer but failed to do so.

Mr Varani gave the second consumer a commencement date for the job of installing fencing at a junior football club, but failed to follow through.

He provided the consumer with numerous reasons for delaying the commencement of the job, but ultimately admitted to mismanaging $9994.60 of the consumer’s funds.

In sentencing, Magistrate Quinn noted it was important to protect members of the community from shonky dealers who do not undertake services. He also noted that Mr Varani offered no apology, no cooperation with OFT, no plea and no contact with the court.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said traders should not accept payments for goods or services if they knew they would not be able to follow through for the consumer.

“A trader should not make promises if they know they cannot meet deadlines,” Mr Bauer said.

“Consumers should always do their research, not pay large sums of money up front and only use reputable traders to avoid being ripped off.”

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).