An unlicensed builder has been convicted following an array of incomplete home renovation jobs across South Australia.
Petar Josipovic was convicted in the Magistrates Court this week for breaching the Building Work Contractors Act 1995 and three of his victims were each awarded a portion of the maximum compensation available under the Act.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio, praised the outcome.
“Mr Josipovic’s conduct amounted to serious breaches of the Act and we are pleased that we were able to secure compensation orders,” Mr Soulio said.
“From October 2010 to May 2011 he was carrying on business as a building work contractor without being licensed to do so as required under the Building Work Contractors Act 1995.
“He also advertised his services, claiming he was licensed to carry on business as building work contractor, an additional breach of the Act.”
Four home owners launched complaints with Consumer and Business Services about their encounters with Mr Josipovic.
They provided evidence that Mr Josipovic did not enter into written agreements as required and demanded excessive deposits and progress payments.
In three of these cases the work was never completed and in one case work was not even commenced. Their deposits and payments were never fully refunded by Mr Josipovic, leaving the consumers significantly out-of-pocket.
Mr Josipovic was convicted of offences against the Building Work Contractors Act 1995
and handed a $5,000 fine.
Mr Josipovic was also ordered to pay the maximum compensation available under the Act of $20,000 to three of the complainants.
No compensation was awarded to the fourth complainant as she has successfully pursued a civil claim against him. Civil action may be pursued if the other complainants wish to seek further compensation.
The Acting Commissioner warned consumers to be cautious when handing over payment for home renovations.
“I strongly encourage consumers looking to hire a trader to ensure that they are appropriately licensed by checking the Consumer and Business Services online licensing register,” he said.
“Consumers should also ensure that they have a written and signed contract in place with terms and conditions they understand and are comfortable with, and that the deposit their builder is requesting is not excessive.
“Under current regulations, builders undertaking domestic work worth over $20,000 may only request a 5 per cent deposit. Builders undertaking domestic work under the total value of $20,000 may only ask for a $1,000 deposit.”
If you believe you have encountered an unlicensed or suspect trader, or for more information about your rights, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882 or visit www.cbs.sa.gov.au