Storm-affected consumers advised to be on the lookout for dodgy traders

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, is warning Sydney residents with storm damage to be aware of scammers going door-to-door, claiming to be contracted by the State Emergency Service (SES). 

“Unfortunately, storms that cause significant property damage are often followed by scammers taking advantage of consumer vulnerability at a stressful and difficult time,” Mr Stowe said. 

“This type of misleading and deceptive conduct may constitute an offence under the Australian Consumer Law, and NSW Fair Trading investigators will seek to identify those involved,” he said

The SES has confirmed this is a scam, and adds that the agency does not engage or endorse any specific construction company or business to carry out repait work. 

Consumers are further advised that under the Australian Consumer Law, cooling-off periods automatically apply to unsolicited sales where the goods or services are valued over $100, and payment cannot be sought during the cooling-off period.

Homeowners are also reminded that any building work valued at more than $5000 must be performed by a licensed contractor. Electrical and plumbing work must only be undertaken by licensed tradespeople, irrespective of the value of the work.

Mr Stowe said consumers should contact their insurer before engaging contractors to undertake any repair work, in order to prevent voiding their insurance. 

“As much of the damage caused by the storms over the weekend affected motor vehicles, it’s important for consumers to ensure that any repairs are undertaken by licensed repairers. Where a motor dealer’s stock is hailed damaged and subsequently repaired, this must be disclosed to purchasers,” Mr Stowe said. 

Storm damage can also pose issues for landlords, tenants and real-estate agents, when a rental property is damaged. 

NSW Fair Trading can provide tenants and landlords with advice on their rights and obligations when it comes to urgent repairs and, if required, compensation.

For licence checks and more information about consumer rights, visit www.fairtrading.nsw gov.au or call or call 13 32 20.

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