Posted on 27/06/2018

Know your rights when hiring WA tradespeople

Know your rights when hiring WA tradespeople

By Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard

Home renovations, repairs or maintenance work can be costly, so it’s vital to find trustworthy and reliable tradespeople to complete the job.

Issues can arise when consumers accept tradespeople on face value and pay large amounts of money as a deposit but the work is then not completed or done to a poor standard. Or consumers agree to pay an inflated price after falling for a high pressure sales pitch without getting other quotes.

It’s important to know your rights. 

Under consumer law, if a salesperson comes to your home out of the blue, or for the purpose of providing a quote but enters into negotiations to supply, you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) unsolicited consumer agreement provisions. This means you should get a 10 business day cooling off period to think about it and check prices. If it’s not what you expected, then you can cancel the contract.

Consumer law also requires services to be carried out with due care and skill, and in a reasonable amount of time. 

When entering into any trades or services agreement we recommend that you get the cost of the job and timeframe for completion of work in writing.

Also, only pay a minimum deposit of about 10 per cent, or, for larger jobs negotiate progress payments as stages of the work are completed. 

Building contracts for amounts more than $7500 are covered by the Home Building Contracts Act and deposits must never exceed 6.5% of the contract price.

Also, ask if the business will take a credit card payment. If they do, this could offer a safeguard because of the possibility of getting a chargeback (transaction reversal) if the work is not carried out.

Obtain a record of any payment made and ensure the receipt or invoice includes the details of the business on it.

Key things to do before hiring someone include:

  • Getting more than one written quote, including those from personally recommended or industry association recognised tradespeople.
  • Undertaking a general internet search for positive or negative reviews is also useful, and this includes visiting our website which lists information about named traders and compliance actions.
  • Verifying claims by asking to see previous work and speaking to past clients. Don’t just rely on photos or written testimonials or a website. Also ask to see any public liability insurance policy they claim to have.
  • Checking the business is registered. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has a guide to identifying a genuine business at www.accc.gov.au and if it’s a licensed profession such as an electrician, builder or plumber, carry out a licence search at www.commerce.wa.gov.au

For more information or assistance call Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054, email your query to consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or visit www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au.