A tree lopper who accepted payment to cut down six trees but only chopped off branches on one has been fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Australian Consumer Law.
Siuosavaii Maiava trading as Fairdinkum Tree Services was also ordered to pay court costs of $2,307.50 when the Consumer Protection prosecution was heard at the Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday 11 October 2019.
In March 2018, Mr Maiava received a $500 up-front payment by electronic transfer from a consumer in Mariginiup in the City of Wanneroo after quoting to cut down six trees. Mr Maiava told the consumer the job would take four to five days.
In April 2018, Mr Maiava received a further $2,000, removing some branches from one tree. He never returned to do any more tree lopping work and didn’t refund the money paid as he felt that he had underquoted the job for the amount of work required.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said that although the prosecution was in relation to an individual matter, Mr Maivia was well known to the department.
“We’ve received extensive complaints against Mr Maivia / Fairdinkum Tree Services dating back to 2011 for failure to supply services within an agreed or reasonable timeframe.
“One of the key purposes of the Australian Consumer Law is to protect consumers, especially those who are made vulnerable when tradespeople take payments in advance.
“If you pay a deposit for goods or services, you are entitled to rely upon the trader to supply what’s been paid for within the agreed timeframe or within a reasonable time. Anyone in WA who is unable to get a job completed after paying for the work should come to Consumer Protection.”
Find more information about consumer rights on the Consumer Protection’s website: www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au