26 September 2023

Bitumen bandits railroading residents

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Consumer Protection has warned that ‘bitumen bandits’ are operating in the State’s south-west following reports they were approaching local businesses.

A Myalup business paid the six men $15,000 for a new driveway. So far they have not returned to complete the work.

Two of the men leading the workers are reported to have English or Scottish accents and it is feared they could target home owners and move their operations into other regional areas or to the outskirts of the Perth metropolitan area.

According to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Gary Newcombe the bitumen bandits go door-to-door and offer to resurface driveways on the spot and engage in high pressure sales tactics. He said the work was usually sub-standard with inferior quality materials being used.

Mr Newcombe said the travelling conmen should be avoided as they were likely to take your money and run.

“They are not legitimate traders whose aim is to do a good job,” Mr Newcombe said.

“They just want to get their hands on your money and then disappear. Their work is usually sub-standard and their prices are hugely inflated.”

He said consumers should resist their high-pressure sales tactics and ignore their claims of offering a good deal.

“Those looking to get bitumen work done should instead get multiple quotes from reputable tradespeople, especially considering it is normally expensive work,” Mr Newcombe said.

“These terrible tradies also break door-to-door, or unsolicited, trading laws which give consumers the right to a 10-business-day cooling off period if they are approached uninvited. It is illegal to take money or carry out any work during this time,” he said.

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