Many tradies, real estate and second hand vehicle dealers companies and individuals invest in advertising to get their name and brand out in the community to bring in work. But some may not realise that they’re breaking the law if their ad doesn’t include their licence number.
Consumer and Business Services (CBS) has been monitoring advertisements placed by the building trades in recent months and more than 60% of ads don’t comply. CBS compliance officers have checked ads published online, in social media and newspapers across the state.
Individuals and businesses in the the real estate, second hand vehicle dealers industries and the building and related trades found not to include a licence number in advertising will face compliance action, which may include a warning letter, expiation or prosecution. Penalties for failing to advertise with a licence number apply.
The requirement to include the licence number applies to all forms of advertising. This includes their own website, flyers, business cards and vehicles as well as paid ads on television, radio, online or in a newspaper.
In addition to the licence number, building contractors must also include the licence name in all advertising and on a prominent sign on all sites where they are performing building work.
Licensees that act outside the scope of their licence, when contacted by CBS, usually stop advertising or take steps to get the appropriate licence. In more serious cases, particularly where there has been detriment to consumers, CBS will take court action.
Companies and individuals are also reminded of their advertising obligations under Australian Consumer Law. An advertisement must not be misleading or provide false information about things such as:
• actual experience in performing certain work
• customer reviews
• special offers
• affiliation with a particular organisation.
For more information see the guide ‘Avoiding unfair business practices’.
Report any suspected activity around unlicensed trading or advertising at cbs.sa.gov.au/contact-us.