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19 January 2015

South Australians are warned to be wary of door-to-door traders who offer to inspect homes unsolicited and then demand high amounts of cash to complete repairs.

Business Services and Consumers Minister Gail Gago reiterated recent advice against hiring tradesmen who show up at your front door.

“Consumer and Business Services (CBS) recently received reports of a suspicious group of male tradesman operating in the inner-southern suburbs of Adelaide.

“In this particular sighting, three males targeted an elderly couple at their home by offering to undertake a roof inspection. They then offered a ‘discount’ price of $9,000 to complete the roof repairs identified.

“The matter is currently being investigated.

“South Australians should be cautious of door-to-door traders requesting large amounts of money upfront, and offering immediate services in return for immediate cash payment.

“Consumers are warned if they employ an unlicensed trader they will more than likely end up with a poor quality and overpriced job.

“Residents are entitled to ask door knockers to leave and are advised not to hand over any money,” Ms Gago said.

CBS has issued a number of warnings in recent months about reported sightings of travelling conmen and will continue to do so in the interests of protecting consumers.

“I encourage anybody who is interested in getting work completed around their home to use licensed and reputable tradespeople and to obtain more than one quotation to ensure they pay a fair price.

“Ensure you do your homework before engaging a tradesperson. You can check that they are licensed to do the job using the CBS online licensing register,” she said.

Under Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to warranty, repair, refund or replacement in the event of a problem arising. If you engage a licensed trader, the consumer is more likely to be able to obtain repairs under warranty.

Consumers are entitled to a 10-day cooling off period for uninvited offers, during which time the trader cannot provide any goods or services or accept any payment for transactions over $100.

Individuals convicted of breaches under the law could face a maximum fine of $220,000; a corporation would face a maximum fine of $1.1 million.

For more information about your rights under the Australian Consumer Law, or to report a suspected trader, contact CBS on 131 882 or visit http://www.cbs.sa.gov.au.