Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz has urged Victorians to do their renovation homework, following a series of court actions against law breaking builders.
Over the past three months, four unregistered builders were ordered to pay a total of close to $35,000 in fines, refunds and costs, following court cases prosecuted by Consumer Affairs Victoria.
By law, builders must be registered before entering into major domestic building contracts, which are mandatory for work worth more than $5,000.
The builders were caught out for failing to complete jobs, charging excessive deposits, and even harassing clients. This included:
- Fines and refunds totalling almost $14,000 for an unregistered Hampton building company and its director that charged deposits five times the legal limit
- Fines and costs worth $3,500 for an unregistered Frankston builder who harassed his client after they complained about the quality of the building services provided
- An unregistered builder from Kallista who also charged excessive deposits and failed to complete work was fined $2,400
- Fines totalling $15,000 to a Bendigo pool company and its unregistered director who took payments but never supplied the pool
Victorians considering pricey construction work are encouraged to ensure their builder is registered on the Victorian Building Authority website, to avoid the time, stress and expense of fixing a dodgy job.
Clients will be better protected from dodgy builders thanks to new laws introduced by the Andrews Labor Government, which commence in September 2016. Under the new laws building information guides must be given to customers by builders before they sign a major domestic building contract.
Consumer Affairs Victoria was contacted 24,815 times about building matters in 2015/16, making it one of the year’s most complained about issues.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz
“Builders who dodge their legal obligations are putting their customers and their reputation at risk.”
“These court cases send a strong message – if you are a builder doing the wrong thing, Consumer Affairs will find you, and pursue you in court.”
“I urge all Victorians to save themselves time, money and stress. Check if a builder is registered with the Victorian Building Authority before contracting for work more than $5,000.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020