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Driveway Contractor Fined Over $60,000 In Caloundra Court

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A driveway contractor has been ordered to pay over $64,000 in the Caloundra Magistrates Court for unsolicited door-to-door trading.

The Brisbane asphalt contractor has been ordered to pay $64,850 in fines, penalties and compensation after being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Kelvin Raymond Kendall, who operates Kendalls Aggregates in Spring Hill, was charged with failing to meet the obligations required by the ACL for unsolicited door-to-door trading.

Kendalls Aggregates was fined $50,000. Mr Kendall was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $4,850 in compensation to the complainants.

Mr Kendall did not appear in court. Convictions were recorded against him and his company.

The court heard that on 5 July 2018, Mr Kendall approached a Beerwah resident saying he was working in the area and had a surplus of surfacing material, which he could use to resurface the resident’s driveway for a reduced price.

The OFT advised the court that the resident was charged $4,850 for the unsolicited service.

However, Mr Kendall hadn’t provided written advice informing the consumer of their right to terminate the agreement within a 10-day cooling-off period for purchases of over $100.

Under the ACL, consumers have extra rights if they receive unsolicited approaches by traders at their homes.

Door-to-door traders must advise consumers about the cooling-off period, and may not accept payment or commence any services during this time.

The court heard that once the consumer became aware of their rights, they terminated the agreement and requested a full refund. However, Mr Kendall did not respond to any enquiries.

In sentencing, Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin said, “that Kendall’s behaviour was a flagrant disregard of the Australian Consumer Law.

“The fine was set to protect consumers from such unscrupulous behaviour,” Ms Tonkin said.

Acting Fair Trading Executive Director Craig Turner said these laws recognise that consumers are vulnerable when door knocked.

“Some door to door traders take advantage of the fact that people find it hard to say no or can’t tell traders to leave, and they can pressure consumers into buying goods or services that they may not really want or need” Mr Turner said.

“Having a 10-day cooling-off period is essential so consumers can reflect on what they have agreed to and have an opportunity to change their minds.

“Traders who operate door to door are reminded of the need to inform consumers of their rights and to observe the cooling-off period.”

“The OFT will continue to investigate and take action against door-to-door traders who flout their legal obligations.”

More information on door-to-door traders and their obligations under the ACL is available on the OFT website at http://www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading