Warning on Travelling Conmen - Bitumen Bandits

NSW Fair Trading is warning consumers and businesses in northern NSW to be wary of anyone offering cheap bitumen work.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the agency had received a report from local media about residents in Murwillumbah being approached at their homes over the past several weeks by men offering work using bitumen left over from a highway job.

“This is the traditional spiel used by travelling conmen,” Mr Stowe said.

NSW Fair Trading is following up this report of cold calling for bitumen work as well as reports of intimidation and is working with local police to identify those responsible.

In one report a woman said a man had tried to break into her home.

Mr Stowe encouraged the public to report any sightings to the national Travelling Conmen hotline on 1300 133 408 or to local police.

“Travelling conmen do not restrict their business to bitumen driveway sealing, they may also offer line marking, roof restoration and painting or other general household trades such as concreting,” he said.

“Do not deal with itinerant traders. They are generally unscrupulous, often target the frail and the elderly and can become quite intimidating and threatening when challenged.”

People offering or carrying out home building work valued at more than $5,000 (labour and materials) on residential properties in NSW are required to be licensed.

“Consumers should ask to sight a licence, which is similar to a credit card with details of the trader’s name and licence category,” Mr Stowe said.

Licences can also be checked online at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.

To watch Driveway Scam – don’t get fooled by dodgy tradespeople, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K1MePV-8kY.

Visit the Stop Travelling Conmen Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/StopTravellingConMen and check the interactive map for reports of travelling conmen at www.stoptravellingconmen.org.