Beware fake tradies

Friday, 07 December 2018

Consumer Affairs Victoria is warning people to beware of fake tradespeople as the weather warms up.

Fake tradies knock on doors and drop leaflets offering home improvement services and completion of jobs such as driveway resurfacing, painting, roof repairs and tree lopping at cheap rates.

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it often is. These dodgy operators tend to vanish after completing little or no work, leaving behind a consumer who has already handed over a sizeable cash deposit.

Fake tradies can be sophisticated in how they attract business, often using:

  • Flyers that have industry-standard logos, Australian Business Numbers (ABN) and Australian Company Numbers (ACN);
  • Websites that look genuine;
  • Signage on light poles or traffic lights; and
  • Door-knocking with 'today only' specials.

Fake tradespeople may approach people working in their gardens, and often target older and vulnerable people who may live alone, pressuring them to say yes to their offers of fake home improvement services.

Consumer Affairs Victoria advises people to be selective when enlisting the services of a tradesperson. Don’t simply rely on a flyer to make a decision. Try to obtain three written quotes and speak to family and friends for recommendations.

You can ask a suspected fake tradie to leave if they approach your property. If they refuse, they are breaking the law.

Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria's website, www.consumer.vic.gov.au/faketradies, for tips on fake tradies' tactics. If you suspect a fake tradie may have approached you, report them to the national  hotline, 1300 133 408.