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Bitumen bandit, dodgy dog breeder among those caught in $8 million Fair Trade dragnet

A bitumen bandit and a dodgy dog breeder caught ripping off consumers are among those snared in an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) dragnet.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said more than $8 million was returned to Queensland consumers by the Office of Fair Trading in refunds, repairs, replacements and other compensation in 2019.

Mrs D’Ath said the consumer protection agency finalised just over 15,800 complaints from the public for the year, similar to the 16,063 finalised in 2018.

“The vast majority of Queensland traders comply with the law and are committed to good customer service, but there’s always a minority that aren’t doing the right thing,” she said.

“The results from 2019 are a testament to the great work of the Office of Fair Trading and effectiveness of Queensland’s consumer protection regime.”

Mrs D’Ath said the OFT’s free and informal conciliation process was delivering great results, returning $6,126,000 to consumers in 2019.

“Even where there’s no breach for which enforcement action can be taken, the matter is often referred for conciliation as the consumer may still be entitled to a refund or replacement,” she said.

“In the last 12 months, the OFT has also taken traders in several industries to court for breaches of consumer legislation.

“This includes a Toowoomba dog breeder who was fined $14,500 for failing to supply puppies and a tradie fined $10,000 for failing to install pool fences.

“There’s also the case of a bitumen bandit who was hit with a $64,000 fine for failing to meet his consumer obligations.

“All three of these traders were also ordered to provide refunds to consumers.”

The OFT also provided information and advice by telephone to over 101,000 consumers and traders and assisted a further 14,000 consumers with their disputes via its enquiry services.

If consumers would like to lodge a complaint against a trader, they are encouraged to do so online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

The most complained about industries in Queensland in 2019:

Industry

Number of complaints

Personal and household goods (eg furniture, whitegoods, TVs, computers)

4,164

Motor vehicle sales

1,856

Personal and household services (eg repairs to whitegoods, hair dressers, gardening, etc)

1,508

Real estate agents

1,158

Motor vehicles services, repairs, parts

952

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