An unlicensed builder with an extensive history of fraud has been fined $6000 and ordered to repay a total of nearly $10,000 to two clients after taking payments for work he never even started.
The Port Adelaide Magistrates Court heard that 50 year old Constantinos Gounas of New Port, trading under the name ‘One Way Supplies’ had several convictions for fraud offences dating back to 1993 – including for obtaining goods as an undischarged bankrupt and passing valueless cheques.
In March 2016, Gounas approached one consumer at Ingle Farm – offering to supply and install cladding on the consumer’s carport, and build an additional carport.
The court heard Gounas told the consumer that the work would be done within two weeks if he paid a deposit of $2184.
The consumer paid the deposit, but Gounas never even started the work.
A second consumer, at Penfield, paid Gounas a deposit of nearly $7,500 for renovation work with Gounas telling the consumer that the more he cash he paid upfront, the sooner work could begin.
The court heard the work was never completed and Gounas became aggressive when the consumer sought a refund.
“Consumers deserve better than this kind of behaviour,” Deputy Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Paul Bertram said.
“When they enter into a contract they have every right to expect the work to be completed.
“Instead, they encountered a man who didn’t hold a licence and was prepared to prey on them to get some quick cash.”
Mr Bertram encouraged any consumer wishing to get some building work done to check the CBS Public Register before handing over any money or entering into a contract, to ensure the contractor is licensed to do the work.
If you have concerns about a contractor’s conduct or want to know more about your rights as a consumer, contact CBS on 131 882.