South Australia’s consumer watchdog has warned that itinerant tradies dubbed ‘bitumen bandits’ appear to be back in the State, targeting regional South Australia as well as the outer suburbs.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said that, since the start of the year, eight reports have been received from consumers approached by itinerant tradies offering to do unsolicited bitumen work at both residential and commercial properties.
"To date this year, we’ve had reports from Nuriootpa, Pooraka, Edinburgh North, One Tree Hill, Moppa, Ramco, Clare and Lonsdale,” he said. “The present indications are that it may be two or three separate groups of tradies preying on consumers – primarily in regional areas and the outer suburbs.
"These people will go door-to-door – often claiming to have leftover bitumen from other works – and offer to lay the bitumen for a cheap price.
"They’re not licenced and will often demand payment well in excess of what they had originally quoted.
"Also, more often than not, the work is substandard, and will need to be redone."
Mr Soulio encouraged consumers to report any sightings of people offering unsolicited work.
"At least two consumers have paid a total of more than $20,000 to these unscrupulous operators, which demonstrates just how easy it is to be taken in by these people,” he said.
Consumers need to remember that if someone knocks at your door offering to do bitumen work, do not accept it.
"Never engage this kind of work on the spur of the moment – do your research. Check they’re licensed, get quotes from other businesses, talk to friends and family about tradies they’ve used for similar work."
Mr Soulio encouraged any consumers with concerns to contact CBS on 131 882.