Claims ‘dodgy builder’ defrauded $24k from customers
A CALOUNDRA West man has been charged after police allege he defrauded 10 Sunshine Coast residents more than $24,000 by conducting dodgy building work.
Sunshine Coast CIB officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards said the charges came after an ongoing investigation by Caloundra CIB, with assistance from the Office of Fair Trading.
Police allege between July 2019 and May this year, the 39-year-old man advertised various services on the Hipages website and other apps.
Sen-Sgt Edwards said the victims were allegedly enticed to pay large deposits or all of the quoted amount for various works, and said were perhaps targeted because of their age and limited language skills.
Police allege the accused was not appropriately licensed to do any of the work.
"Police believe that there were also other trades people the man had employed who were also not paid," Sen-Sgt Edwards said.
Police allege the man defrauded residents in several Coast suburbs for work including fencing, building timber decks and other labour work for a total of $24,523.50.
Police are urging residents to do further checks when requesting quotes for work, such as seeing appropriate licenses, checking with the QBCC and asking references from other people.
"These are not unrealistic requests to ensure the validations of the trades people," Sen-Sgt Edwards said.
The 39-year-old Caloundra West man will appear in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on July 8.
A Hipages representative said they were aware of recent reports regarding a tradesperson allegedly defrauding consumers for landscaping work he wasn't qualified for.
"At Hipages, our mission is to connect homeowners with licensed and qualified tradespeople and this is done through best practice verification tools, such as licence and ABN checks. We also encourage all our customers to check the ID and relevant licence of any tradie they engage with, no matter what the job entails," the spokeswoman said.
"When an individual is in significant breach of our membership terms and conditions, they are removed and banned from the platform immediately. When we are made aware of complaints from customers, we refer these to the appropriate authorities and cooperate accordingly, providing information upon request as part of any investigation."