Watch out for rip-offs

FAIR Trading is warning residents of flood-ravaged Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Urunga to be wary of rip-off merchants.

Minister for Fair Trading Virginia Judge said opportunistic and dodgy builders, glaziers and roof tilers often descend on towns after severe storms and flooding, hoping to catch desperate home owners off guard.

“Sadly, there are some despicable people out there who prey on the need to fix problems quickly,” Ms Judge said. “The family home is the largest investment most people will ever make. It is not worth risking it to save a few dollars on some unlicensed, fly-by-night tradesperson.

“Storm and flood damage can also be a major issue for landlords, tenants and real estate agents when a rental property is damaged and requires urgent repairs, with possible issues of compensation. A single telephone call to Fair Trading on

13 32 20 can save families financial loss and emotional heartache.” Ms Judge said Fair Trading staff stood ready to assist flood victims by:

  • providing information on how to choose suitable tradespeople to carry out repairs;
  • checking that tradespeople offering to do work are properly licensed and insured;
  • advising people in rented accommodation and their landlords about their rights and obligations; and
  • providing access to debt counselling for those in financial difficulties.

You can check online if a builder or tradesperson is licensed or call 13 32 20. Builders caught operating without the appropriate license can face fines of up to $22,000.

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