UNLICENSED builders and tradespeople who misappropriate another professional’s licence are being caught at the rate of more than one a week.In the past five years, 46 people have faced prosecution and 300 have received penalty notices for breaching licensing rules in the Home Building Act, figures from Fair Trading show.Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge said too many homeowners were signing up builders without running background checks on them, despite the state government upgrading its public register to make licence searches easier.Any building work carried out where labour and materials was worth more than $1000 required the appropriate licence, Ms Judge said, as well as all plumbing, electrical, airconditioning and refrigeration work.NSW Master Builders Association executive director Brian Seidler said unlicensed builders would rip people off as long as consumers failed to undertake checks.”People spend more time investigating what car they are going to buy than the builder they are going to use,” he said.Peter and Enriqueta Jones fell victim to a builder whose licence had lapsed when they tried to have gates installed at their Rooty Hill home.Mr Jones said he paid Michael Greco, of All Steel Gates, a $1600 deposit towards the $4869 job based on a promise the job would be finished in three weeks.By May, when the job had not been started, Mr Jones and Mr Greco agreed the deposit would be refunded. When nothing happened, Mr Jones contacted Fair Trading, which told him Mr Greco’s licence had expired a year earlier.The department launched legal action against Mr Greco, who was fined $21,000, 95 per cent of the maximum penalty.Mr Jones also pursued his deposit through the Consumer, Tenancy and Trader Tribunal, which ordered the $1600 to be refunded. But Mr Jones has yet to see his money.”He [Mr Greco] was ordered to pay a $21,000 fine, but there was no requirement to pay the money back to us. To me that seems a deficiency in the legislation.”
Nanjing Night Net