NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers and businesses in the Riverina, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Dubbo regions to avoid dealing with itinerants offering to do cheap bitumen work.
Mr Stowe said Fair Trading has received advice about a number of travellers with Irish accents operating in the south of the state and a gang of travelling conmen known to Fair Trading operating in Dubbo.
“Travelling conmen are a constant scourge,” he said. “They incur costs for consumers who are victimised by them and impose a compliance cost on all taxpayers.
“The group working in the Riverina and Albury are using Mitsubishi Triton work utes with Queensland plates. They approached the owner of a service station at Jugiong yesterday with the usual spiel ‘we’ve got some left over bitumen’ and offered to do bitumen sealing valued at $15,000.
“The service station owner contacted Fair Trading this morning and expressed concern that the men may be travelling conmen.
“He cancelled the work today when they returned. The group is known to have done work in Queensland and the Northern Territory as well as in NSW.
“Work by travelling conmen is usually of poor quality and consumers are left with little opportunity for redress because travelling conmen are highly mobile and have usually left the area by the time problems are detected and reported.”
People should report any sightings to the national Travelling Conmen hotline on 1300 133 408 or to local police.
Travelling conmen do not restrict their business to bitumen driveway sealing, they may also offer line marking, roof restoration and painting or other general household trades such as concreting.
Do not deal with itinerant traders. They are unscrupulous, often targeting the frail and the elderly and can become quite intimidating and threatening when challenged. Use local, reliable tradespeople who have a stake in maintaining their reputation.
People offering or carrying out home building work valued at more than $5,000 (labour and materials) on residential properties in NSW must be licensed.
Consumers should ask to see a licence, which is similar to a credit card with details of the trader’s name and licence category.