Homeowners have been warned about driveway scams after ‘bitumen bandits’ almost conned a vulnerable elderly couple out of $12,000.
Brisbane couple Denise and Darryl Blight agreed to pay $3,000 when tradesmen offered to replace their dirt driveway with a bitumen one.
When the job was completed, not only did the tradesmen leave their mess behind but they also did such a shoddy job that pieces of carpet, tree roots and bare earth showed through the uneven surface.
Homeowners have been warned about driveway scams after ‘bitumen bandits’ almost conned a vulnerable elderly couple out of $12,000 (file picture)
The tradesmen then demanded $12,000 for their dodgy work, which they disguised by parking a truck over the worst bits of the driveway.
‘We’ve waited 34 years for a driveway so I was happy,’ Ms Blight told Quest Newspapers.
‘When the bobcat turned up, it went crazy and was doing wheel stands it was working so quickly.’
A retired self-employed carpenter, Mr Blight insists on quotes but had been preoccupied with his recent battle with kidney cancer while his wife, 73, suffers from epilepsy.
After the couple negotiated the price down to $8,000, Mrs Blight mistakenly put in the wrong bank account details and the money was not transferred.
They told their daughter-in-law about the dodgy work, who alerted police and the Office of Fair Trading, which has since described the tradesmen’s conduct as despicable.
The couple arranged a time with the tradesmen to return to their home be paid but they didn’t show up, instead later sending an email demanding payment.
Under Queensland fair trading laws, door-to-door traders must give consumers a 10-day cooling off period and cannot start work or accept payment during that period.
Consumers can cancel any agreement within this period without penalty and can request a free ‘Do-not-Knock’ sticker from the Office of Fair Trading.
The Office of Fair Trading received 10 reports about bitumen bandits in 2019.
Consumers can lodge a complaint by calling 13 74 68 or log onto qld.gov.au/fairtrading.