A Gold Coast handyman has been fined over $64,000 for ripping off customers across Queensland.
Cameron Jeffrey Dowel was found guilty in Southport Magistrates Court on Monday of accepting payment but failing to supply goods and services to two consumers following charges from the Office of Fair Trading.
The Upper Coomera man was fined $50,000 and ordered to pay a total of $14,282 compensation to the consumers.
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He was also ordered to return $1,000 worth of tools to a consumer.
In August last year, Mr Dowell agreed to supply and install a carport for someone in Yandaran, north of Bundaberg, and was paid $9,182 as a deposit. In April of this year the carport had still not been installed.
In November, he also agreed to supply and install footpaths and patios at a home in Pimpama and accepted a deposit of $5,500.
It was due to be completed by December 24 last year but the work was never finish and only $400 worth of materials. He never offered a refund.
During sentencing, Magistrate Gary Finger noted that the trader took advantage of people and they now had to find extra money to replace the goods and services that he failed to supply.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said it was not acceptable for a trader to ignore their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law as Mr Dowel had done.
“Traders must not accept payment from consumers if they know they can’t deliver the goods or services by the agreed date,” Mr Bauer said.
“The OFT does not tolerate this type of behaviour and will continue to act to protect the rights of Queensland consumers who are left out of pocket in this way.”
*Note – An earlier version of this story reported Mr Dowel appeared in Southport Magistrates Court. Mr Dowel did not appear in person.