As the weather warms up, fake tradies (also known as travelling con men) will be knocking on doors and dropping leaflets, offering home improvement services.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is warning homeowners that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it often is.
Fake tradies offer to do jobs such as driveway resurfacing, painting, roof repairs and tree lopping at cheap rates.
These dodgy operators tend to vanish after completing little or no work, leaving behind a consumer who has already handed over a sizeable cash deposit.
Fake tradies can be sophisticated in how they attract business, often using:
- flyers that have industry standard logos, Australian Business Numbers (ABN) and Australian Company Numbers (ACN)
- websites that look genuine
- signage on light poles or traffic lights
- door-knocking with ‘today only’ specials.
They may approach people while they are working in the garden. They often target older Victorians and vulnerable people who may live alone, pressuring them to say yes to their home improvement services.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is warning the public to beware of fake tradies, and be selective when enlisting the services of a tradesperson.
Don’t simply rely on a flyer to make a decision, instead try to obtain three written quotes and speak to family and friends for their recommendations.
You can ask a suspected fake tradie to leave if they approach your property. If they refuse they are breaking the law.
Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website for tips on fake tradies tactics: consumer.vic.gov.au/faketradies
If you suspect a fake tradie may have approached you, report them to the hotline on 1300 133 408.