RESIDENTS are being warned to be aware of dodgy door-to-door traders looking to make a quick buck in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said while most Queenslanders looked out for each other in natural disasters, a small minority looked to take advantage of people at their most vulnerable time.
“After previous cyclones and floods, the Office of Fair Trading has received reports of itinerant door-to-door repairmen,” Mrs D’Ath said.
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“Itinerant door-to-door traders have been known to target disaster-affected areas, offering services such as tree clearing and rubbish removal but after receiving upfront payment they leave the area without completing the work.”
Mrs D’Ath said there were a few steps that residents could follow to ensure they don’t get ripped off.
“Door-to-door trading is a legitimate method of operation, and often after disasters consumers are pleased businesses have made it into their area to provide services,” she said.
“By taking a few simple steps before they hand over any money consumers can protect themselves from being ripped off.
“With a state of emergency declared, the usual regulations which cover itinerant traders are lifted so that repairs can be done immediately rather than waiting for the standard ten-day cooling off period.
“However, all other normal rules apply.”
The Office of Fair Trading recommends:
- If your home has been damaged, contact your insurer as soon as possible. If you must do temporary repairs make sure you take before and after photographs.
- If you are approached by a door-to-door trader offering repairs, request their licence details, ABN and contact information. Legitimate traders will be happy to supply these details.
- Builders and plumbers should be licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and licences can be checked online at qbcc.qld.gov.au or on 13 93 33.
- Electrical contractors should be licensed by the Electrical Safety Office and licences can be checked online at worksafe.qld.gov.au or on 1300 362 128
- Request a tax invoice or receipt for any repair work completed on or around your home.
- Do not make large upfront payments, especially to businesses or individuals you haven’t dealt with before.
- For further information on door-to-door traders, visit qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).