The so-called ‘‘Bitumen Bandits’’ have struck the South West with residents in Australind and Harvey paying a total of $7000 for shoddy work by the sham operators.
Co-owner of the Harvey Rainbow Caravan Park Barbara Troeger told the SouthWestern Times she lost $2000 after five workmen knocked on her door to repair bitumen on the driveway.
They claimed they had leftover materials from a job ‘‘up the road’’ and that her driveway could do with a makeover.
She said the men drove a truck, which broke down outside the caravan park multiple times, with Victorian number plates.
Mrs Troeger said after a $4700 cheque she gave one worker was unable to be cashed at his bank, the men returned and continued to hassle her and her husband for money even though the work was never completed.
She said themen spoke with English accents and were pushy in getting the job.
‘‘We’re business people, we should know better,’’ Mrs Troeger said.
‘‘My husband is a bricklayer and he thought the job should have been worth about $1700, but they never gave us a price at the beginning.
‘‘We should have asked.’’
Consumer Protection has also received reports from residents in Australind that the ‘‘Bitumen Bandits’’ have been at work in their area.
An Australind consumer reported paying them $5000.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll has warned homeowners in the South West not to deal with ‘‘these itinerant traders’’.
‘‘These traders use high pressure sales pitches, claiming to have material leftover from another job down the street, to get consumers to agree to have their driveways bituminised at supposedly low cost,’’ Ms Driscoll said.
‘‘The cost of the job is often more than it’s worth and the work is usually sub-standard.
‘‘It’s also difficult to track down these traders for a refund or to make a warranty claim if the consumer is not satisfied.‘‘Bitumen Bandits are also breaking consumer law by not observing a 10 day cooling off period for unsolicited sales.’’