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23 November 2015

The state’s consumer watchdog is reminding consumers to do their research before contracting for building work after an Athelstone man paid for landscaping services which were carried out by an unlicensed builder.

Investigations from Consumer and Business Services (CBS) found Vicki Picton-King (trading as Geecats Domestic Maintenance) agreed to complete landscaping work to the value of $39,000 without holding a relevant building work licence or registration.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, George Kamencak, said CBS had received a complaint after a consumer was unhappy with the standard of work.

“The contract of work related to the supply and installation of landscaping materials for paving, retaining walls, fencing and other associated matters,” Mr Kamencak said.

“The consumer obtained a building report following completion of the job that outlined a number of issues with landscaping work that had been undertaken.

“While most of the work completed by Geecats Domestic Maintenance did not require a licence, Mrs Picton-King had advertised the business online and held herself out as being entitled to contract for building work. Such conduct was likely to have breached the Building Work Contractors Act 1995.”

In response to the concerns raised by CBS, Mrs Picton-King agreed to enter into an Assurance that was accepted by the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs.

A written Assurance is a formal undertaking that in certain circumstances, may be used in place of enforcement action such as prosecution or disciplinary action. Failure to comply with an Assurance could make the trader liable to prosecution.

Mr Kamencak said the Assurance states Mrs Picton-King will not engage in the business as a building work contractor without being authorised to do and will not hold herself out as being entitled to carry on business as a building work contractor.

“To avoid hiring a tradesperson that may not be qualified to complete the work, consumers are encouraged to research prospective tradespeople and ask for a tradesperson’s licence card, which includes photo ID, and cross-check the licence number on the  CBS online contractor’s register.”

Consumers can report concerns about suspected unlicensed builders and tradespeople by contacting CBS on 131 882 or visit www.cbs.sa.gov.au.