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Rip off road: Warning on travelling conmen 

11 February 2015

NSW Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox today warned consumers to be wary of travelling conmen following a spate of incidents where consumers were ripped off, including one consumer who paid up to $21,000 for sub-standard roofing work.

“What we are dealing with are conmen who have been travelling door-to-door offering to do roofing and bitumen work, in some cases demanding payment up to $37,950,” Mr Mason-Cox said.

“NSW Fair Trading has received reports from consumers across NSW in areas including Albury, Bellingen, Blacktown, Bonville, Baulkham Hills, Carlingford, Coffs Harbour, Gulgong, Hornsby, Laurieton, Naremburn, Pymble, Stockinbingal, Tamworth, Thornleigh, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Urunga, West Pennant Hills and Valla.

“On 22 January, a Pymble consumer paid up to $21,000 for sub-standard roofing work to a tradesperson reportedly trading as ‘Actfast Roofing’, travelling in a vehicle with a Victorian licence URQ-992.

“Another consumer near Lismore was approached by a group of travelling conmen offering bitumen work and paid $7000 for a bitumen driveway which included a three year guarantee. “Three days after the job was complete, the driveway began to wash away after heavy rain.

“NSW Police were asked to intervene in another case in Thornleigh after money was reportedly stolen from a consumer’s wallet by a travelling conmen while he was distracted.”

Mr Mason-Cox said travelling conmen often displayed tell-tale signs that consumers could look out for.

“Conmen will travel door-to-door and offer customers to do work the same day as they doorknock,” Mr Mason-Cox said. “Work that is undertaken is often of poor quality, incomplete or not what was quoted to the customer.

“Frequently, consumers are provided with an initial quote midway through the work and the value of the quote increases significantly, without consultation.

“Under the Australian Consumer Law, workers or business travelling from premises to premises are required to provide consumers with a 10-business day cooling off period before payments can be sought. Consumers should be wary of anyone who demands money upfront.

“Travelling conmen often become verbally aggressive and use intimidation tactics to get victims to pay for work. Customers should contact the NSW Police if they feel threatened.”

Following interstate tip offs from consumers around the country, a group of Irish travelling conmen were recently detained by police in Western Australia on fraud charges. They are currently facing deportation.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/StopTravellingConMen and check the interactive map for reports of travelling conmen at: www.stoptravellingconmen.org.

Below are details of recently sighted travelling conmen. If a consumer is approached or spot any of these conmen, report it to the national Travelling Conmen Hotline on 1300 133 408.

Travelling conmen have recently been reported in:

  • Albury, Naremburn and West Pennant Hills, roofing work, trading as ‘Premier Home Improvements’ – Victorian licence plates WZN-194 and PUL-810
  • Baulkham Hills and Carlingford, roofing work, trading as ‘All Weather Home Improvement Pty Ltd’ – Victorian licence plate ZQF-478
  • Bellingen, Bonville, Coffs Harbour, Laurieton, Urunga and Valla, bitumen work, trading as ‘Roadway Constructions Pty Ltd’ – Queensland licence plates 390-VIM, 561-VGD; NSW licence plates CB-85-QC and AD-63-NA
  • Blacktown, bitumen work, trading as ‘Auseal’
  • Gulgong, bitumen work, trading as ‘Hot Tar Bitumen Sealing’ – licence plate AQJ-75F (no state reported)
  • Hornsby, roofing work, trading as ‘Academy Roofing and Restoration'
  • Pymble, roofing work, trading as ‘Actfast Roofing’ – Victorian licence plate URQ-992
  • Stockinbingal, roofing work
  • Tamworth and Warral, bitumen work, trading as ‘Road Seal Management Pty Ltd’ (Which is not the same company and is not related to Road Seal Pty Ltd) – Queensland licence plate 599-UFY
  • Thornleigh, roofing work, trading as ‘Roof Tech and Roofing Restoration’
  • Tumbarumba, roofing work
  • Tumut, roofing work

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