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Perth plumbing company fined by Consumer Protection

Gareth Parker
Article image for Perth plumbing company fined by Consumer Protection

A Perth plumbing and electrical company has been issued a hefty infringement notice for breaking consumer laws.

The fine comes after the company failed to refund a deposit after over-quoting for unnecessary work.

A consumer paid a 50 per cent deposit for work, including replacing a hot water system, when the only problem was a simple pipe leak. The total quote was for $6,083 but after the plumber left, the consumer contacted other plumbing contractors who indicated that the cost was excessive and they would charge only half the amount.

When the consumer contacted the original company to cancel the contract, he was told that the deposit would not be refunded. It wasn’t until Consumer Protection intervened and issued the infringement notice that the $3,041.50 deposit was returned.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe told Gareth Parker that, under the Australian Consumer Law, an invitation to provide a quote does not constitute an invitation to carry out the work.

“Taking the deposit on the spot was unlawful,” he said.

Mr Newcombe said the company will remain anonymous but further investigations into the industry are underway.

“There is an issue with some people in the plumbing industry,” said Mr Newcombe.

“We’re undertaking formal investigations into another couple of companies in this space.”

In regards to the company remaining anonymous, Mr Newcombe said there is a “rigorous” legal process to be able to name and shame.

“We haven’t satisfied that test internally and I’ve had legal advice on that.”

The unnamed company will pay a fine of $6,600 with consumers being advised to get more than one quote before getting work done around the home.

Press PLAY to hear what else you should look for when engaging a plumber:

Gareth Parker