Joe Rizk was convicted of unlicensed building work, demanding and receiving excess payment before work commenced and falsely stating he was the holder of a contractors licence in Parramatta Local Court on 2 May 2014.
The court heard that in March 2012 Mr Rizk told the Arncliffe home owners he was licensed to do kitchen renovation work, which was false. On that occasion, he provided the consumers with a quote of $9,990 for the work.
The consumers accepted the quote and entered into a contract with Mr Rizk to renovate their kitchen.
On the same day, the consumers paid the defendant a deposit of $3,000 before any work had commenced. Under the Act, the maximum deposit permitted for a contract of this amount is limited to10 per cent of the total cost of the work.
On 29 March 2012 the consumers terminated the contract with Mr Rizk as they were dissatisfied with his work. They subsequently made a complaint to NSW Fair Trading.
On 13 November 2012, Mr Rizk admitted he had entered into a contract with the consumers without a licence and had accepted payment directly into his bank account.
However, the defendant viewed his conduct as having ‘done nothing wrong’ and believed the consumers had treated him unfairly.
Following a separate consumer complaint earlier in 2011, Fair Trading sent Mr Rizk a warning letter advising him he needed to obtain a contractors licence, as required under the Home Building Act.
Acting Fair Trading Commissioner Robert Vellar emphasised the importance of checking a builder’s licence before contracting to do any work over $1,000 in value.
“Always check your trader’s licence before agreeing to anything. Consumers can check licences online at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 32 20,” he said.