Unsafe ethanol burner voluntary recall

Action by South Australia’s consumer watchdog has prompted a Darlington business to issue a voluntary recall notice for unsafe ethanol burners being sold in breach of national safety standards.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said officers from Consumer and Business Services seized nearly 20 unsafe ethanol burners from Gardenia Home Garden Décor in Darlington.

Media release – Unsafe ethanol burner voluntary recall (PDF 91KB)

Unlicensed real estate agent agrees to additional training – assurance

A real estate agent who allegedly acted as a sales representative for a land agent while unlicensed has agreed to commence further training as part of an enforceable undertaking he has entered into with South Australia’s consumer watchdog.

Marc Olsen’s sales representative licence was cancelled in February 2017, after he failed to renew it.

An investigation by Consumer and Business Services revealed he was allegedly still entering into sales agency agreements with vendors on behalf of another land agent.

Following that investigation, Mr Olsen entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, agreeing to cease acting as a sales representative without a current licence and undertake three units that form part of the Certificate IV in Property Services within 12 months of entering into the undertaking.

Consumer and Business Services may use written undertakings in place of court-based enforcement action.

This does not rule out further action, such as prosecution, if the terms of the agreement are not met.

Signed assurance (PDF 109KB)

Building contractor pays back customers for unfinished work – assurance

A building contractor has acknowledged that he likely breached consumer protection laws, after allegedly accepting payment for work at homes that he did not complete.
Consumer and Business Services allege that Mr Katsikas accepted payments exceeding $48,000 between February 2016 and March 2017, for building work on four properties which he began but failed to finish.
It is further alleged that Mr Katsikas performed work that was not permitted under his building work contractor’s licence, including paving, concreting and fencing.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio, said that Mr Katsikas’ trading history and recent behaviour were taken into account when determining the appropriate action, noting that Mr Katsikas subsequently compensated all four consumers.
“Mr Katsikas has shown a willingness to remedy the situation, including repaying customers and voluntarily surrendering his licence,” Mr Soulio said.
“He has also held a building work contractor’s licence for many years prior to this without incident.”
Mr Katsikas entered into a written assurance with the Commissioner that states he will not conduct further business unless licensed to do so, and will not accept payment for goods and services that he is unable to deliver within a reasonable time.
A written assurance is a formal undertaking that may be used in certain circumstances, in place of enforcement actions such as prosecution or disciplinary action. A trader that fails to comply with an assurance may be liable for prosecution.

Signed assurance (PDF 175KB)

Bramalco to review consumer law practices – statement

Bramalco Pty Ltd, trading as Modern, has given a formal undertaking to the state’s consumer watchdog, after allegedly breaching customers’ cooling off rights and engaging in false, misleading or deceptive conduct on several occasions.

Under the arrangement, Bramalco is required to engage an independent professional to review its consumer law compliance program, including the effectiveness of its complaint handling system and compliance training program.

The report will be provided to the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs. Bramalco has undertaken to upgrade its compliance program and training in accordance with the report’s recommendations, within 3 months of receiving it.

It follows complaints about Bramalco’s door-to-door sales of home improvement products, such as shutters and roofing, between January 2015 and July 2016.
Complainants included residents in West Croydon, Warradale, Brahma Lodge, Andrews Farm, Melrose Park, Renmark and Berri.

An investigation by Consumer and Business Services found evidence that contracts issued by Bramalco attempted to deprive consumers of their termination rights by incorrectly stating that the customer had proactively invited the retailer to their address.

It is further alleged that Bramalco took deposits and installed products within the 10 day cooling off period, breaching their responsibilities under the unsolicited sales provisions of Australian Consumer Law (SA).

Consumer and Business Services also believes Bramalco misinformed consumers about their cooling off rights and refused to provide refunds within the prescribed cooling off period.

“Consumers who are approached by a dealer at their home without inviting them are entitled to an extended 10 day cooling off period.” Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said.

“Arrangements and sales can be cancelled by the consumer at any point within that time without further obligation.”

In accepting the undertaking, the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs notes that Bramalco acknowledged its conduct was likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law, and that it will takes steps to ensure future compliance with the Law.

Consumer and Business Services may use written undertakings in place of court-based enforcement action. This does not rule out further action, such as prosecution, if Bramalco fails to abide by the agreement.

If you want to know more about cooling off periods, or report a concern about a door to door salesperson, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882.

Signed assurance

Applications open soon for labour hire licences – media release

Consumer and Business Services is urging labour hire companies to make sure they apply for a licence by the start of August, ahead of the mandatory licensing system for the sector that comes into effect in September.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said that from September 1, any business that supplies workers to another person and pays the worker (either to cover wages or a part payment) will need to be licensed.

Applications open soon for labour hire licences – media release

Builder slugged $12,000 for incomplete work – media release

An unlicensed builder who took payments from clients totalling $10,000 for work that was never started has been penalised more than $12,000 in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this week.

In court, 57 year old John James Meyer pleaded guilty to breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and the Building Work Contractors Act.

Read more – builder slugged $12,000 for incomplete work – media release