Dishonest tradesman – no ABN, no work done – how to recover deposit

I must admit I did a very stupid thing by paying a tradesman a very significant deposit for a ducted heating installation without obtaining a formal quote. I cannot believe I did it, but it’s done and now I have to think how to recover the money. I dealt with the guy before for work around our house and trusted him. This time we had to do an install for IP under SMSF and I needed ABN and receipts. He lied to me he had one and requested nearly 80% of deposit to start quickly promising to send a formal quote with ABN same evening. I electronically transferred money just to find the next day his company was not registered any longer. I contacted not to go ahead with any purchases / installs till the quote gets send. The person changed completely, tried to avoid me and played fool. I sent a cancellation note following by the call and asked for deposit to be returned. Lodged a ‘disputed transaction’ with the bank, however I do not expect much from there.
What the next step should be – solicitor, debt collector? Does it go to the court? How long does it take and how much cost?
What if the person does not return money even after that – do we loose even more on solicitor / court charges?

I would appreciate any advice on the matter.
 
Yes contact fair trading asap. Also contact solicitor quick. Depending o the amounts etc it could cost from $100 to anywhere if it goes to court. U may also have little chance of getti g your money back.

You may have also breached your trustee duties I paying out this money without checking.
 
One baseball bat will sort the problem out, I hate little motha fn a holes like that, scanless ****..,
More than likely you will loose the money, go to court and he would run circles and get you fed up, judge will tell him to pay you back and then it is still a battle, if it was me I would try be nice and get him in to do the work and at least you will end up with something.
If you think he has money and owns property car etc then you may have a chance to recover your money if you get your solicitor onto him fast.
One way that works a treat is find out where he lives and turn up on his door step daily and he will not like this one bit, or get a big person to do this for you, works 100% for me.
for him to ask you for 80% upfront is shadey and he already planned to walk with the cash, I had a guy try get 50% upfront deposited into his account, I said yea sure, the day you turn up on site and start working is the day I will give you part payment, he said he really needs 50% upfront to buy materials, I said that is nice but surely you have trade accounts around where you can tick it up, he was like ahh mmm ahh, I said turn up on the day and bring the materials and start work and I will make payment to you on the day, he said okay and that was the last I heard from him. scanless a hole, they don't last long in business when they are like that, idiots. A honest business man will go a lot further and make a lot more money and not have to look over his/her back if they be honest and do the work.
 
yeah but by resorting to those kind of strategies - baseball bats, turning up to his house with a big guy would only result in disadvantaging you further if the tradie decides to make a report on haressement etc and get a order against you in court.

the only way is to go through proper channels of the dispute resolution system. You could obviously contact consumer affaris and they would definitely look into it if you have paid him and he has ran off.

Obviously if you are well connected in that certain world to make those actions occur without much duress then that would be a different case altogether.
 
Yes don't go down the baseball bat route. Had a client threatened like that and he wisely installed hidden cctv cameras so the next time the person came around everything was recorded and captured for the police who swiftly took action. Most people resort to such tactics are fairly inept and all it takes is wise tactics to land them in prison. Go the legal route.

Underworld figures aren't going to come around to your doorstep. Small time crims or senseless people might but some cctv footage will soon make short work of their threats. Can then make sure with a criminal record on file they also lose things llicenses etc which allow them to trade.

I find it as equally disgusting to hear that you have harassed and intimidated people before in your business. A call to the police, a warrant to obtain your iP address and you yourself are up on charges. Stupidity.
 
You can always go down the vcat route but with people like that its often a lost cause. I've been ripped off by a dodgy builder who had us do survey work, didn't pay and then when I did some research I found he didn't even have an abn. Went to vcat but he was a no-show so cut my losses and moved on. Not worth the time and hassle in the end.

All the best with it and I hope you get your money back. I hate seeing people being taken advantage of by dodgy "professionals".
 
it always helps to note down things like his car license plate. that way you can track down where he lives if he owns the car.

i've been burned before too - builders incomplete work or trades not doing a correct job

VCAT is only useful if you have the full details of the other party, otherwise you really have nothing.
 
Thanks for the responses. Fair trading is the way to go.
I called Consumer Affairs Victoria, an officer contacted the tradie the same day and explained possible implications for him if money not returned. He agreed to return the deposit within a week. Hopefully everything will be good this time, however a good lesson for me for the future.
PS. I checked with my accountant re possible sunctions for breaching my trustee duties and paying out money without checking - an honest mistake would not count, provided you can prove this and document in the minutes.
 
PS. I checked with my accountant re possible sunctions for breaching my trustee duties and paying out money without checking - an honest mistake would not count, provided you can prove this and document in the minutes.

Your accountant shouldnt be providing legal advice. The advice is wrong. But nothing is likely to come of it.
 
I hope things work out for you.

You had used this tradie before, and thought he was good for it.
Honest mistake, and think most people may have fallen for it.
 
There is always a danger in paying someone prior to receiving an invoice - regardless of how urgent the situation, always get an invoice beforehand (with the excuse you may have miswritten the banking details), that way you will have evidence that the supplier has an ABN and if you are going to get them by the goolies later on that they required more than the 10 - 20% deposit allowed by law for works requiring a licence from Fair Trading/V-Cat.
 
I electronically transferred money

If you did this via your credit card,and i think any account but not 100% sure,lodge a dispute asap.Most banks have a 90 day card dispute procedure in place.This will be the quickest & most cost effective way to retrieve your money,tell the bank it is a fraud transaction.
 
Coastymike, who said you need to use the bat and who said I have ever had a bat, A matter afact I have never even owned one. Obviously your client is one of those pricks that does not pay his bills or he wouldn't need to install cctv.
And there is no law against turning up on someones doorstep and asking for the money they owe you, best way like I said in my post is be nice to the ***** as most the time it results in getting the money.
like a couple of the other posters said above, the court system does not work, well it does work but just not in your favour, it works in the crooks favour, unless you have been burnt before and gone down this path then you wouldn't understand the ins and outs of how it works, I've spoken with a judge and court person about the system and they told me quite a bit which would shock everyone on how wrong the system is, I won't explain it as I don't want the innocent learning bad ways of doing business.
 
You have to be very careful when contemplating violence. A few years ago someone sent a couple of guys over to rough up a friend of mine over some business matters. The broke into his house while he was asleep. One of the bad guys had a knife for some reason. My mate woke up to find a guy standing next to him and started to fight for his life. The other guy pulled out his knife and stabbed my mate to death.

One dead. One wife traumatised. 3 people charged with murder or conspiracy to murder and countless lives ruined.
 
Coastymike, who said you need to use the bat and who said I have ever had a bat, A matter afact I have never even owned one. Obviously your client is one of those pricks that does not pay his bills or he wouldn't need to install cctv.
And there is no law against turning up on someones doorstep and asking for the money they owe you, best way like I said in my post is be nice to the ***** as most the time it results in getting the money.
like a couple of the other posters said above, the court system does not work, well it does work but just not in your favour, it works in the crooks favour, unless you have been burnt before and gone down this path then you wouldn't understand the ins and outs of how it works, I've spoken with a judge and court person about the system and they told me quite a bit which would shock everyone on how wrong the system is, I won't explain it as I don't want the innocent learning bad ways of doing business.

eventhough if you turned up at the doorstep - they can choose to not open the door and request that your leave or ask you to go through proper dispute resolution processes. Once you do it more than 3 times - he can then claim you are harressing him and make a report to the police

Even if anyone owes anyone money - there is always the benefit of the doubt - so both parties get a fair shot of their part of the story through the tribunal etc etc. Unfortunately, that's how things work eventhough the process does not always benefit the honest party.
 
You have to be very careful when contemplating violence. A few years ago someone sent a couple of guys over to rough up a friend of mine over some business matters. The broke into his house while he was asleep. One of the bad guys had a knife for some reason. My mate woke up to find a guy standing next to him and started to fight for his life. The other guy pulled out his knife and stabbed my mate to death.

One dead. One wife traumatised. 3 people charged with murder or conspiracy to murder and countless lives ruined.



That is extreme , no one should loose there life no matter what the circumstances
 
There's a show on TV called Cowboy Builders (UK) A series which involves exposing cowboy builders and helping those families whose lives and homes have been affected by them; maybe we need an Aussie Version?

I'm sure they would have plenty of material to work with, here's some news from VIC

Victoria's cowboy builders dodge and weave

VICTORIA'S building industry watchdog has deregistered just 13 dodgy builders in the past three years.


Consumer groups say the state's 21,000 registered builders and surveyors include a host of cowboys and conmen whose work creates problems at one in six home building projects.

Yet authorities have taken the licences off an average of just four rogue builders a year - a fraction of the numbers expelled in NSW and Queensland. Another 81 have been prosecuted.

The Building Commission was savaged in a recent report by the Auditor-General for its failure to regulate the industry and monitor the work of builders and private building surveyors. Auditor-General Des Pearson said the building permit system was largely unaccountable, with a high risk of collusion and conflicts of interest.

He said the commission had wide powers as a regulator, yet claimed it had little authority to intervene.

Continues....
 
I wonder if there is a legal way to find an address knowing a vehicle number plate. is there a way to request this sort of info from the police?
 
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