Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning all home owners affected by the severe storms to use only qualified and reputable tradespeople to do repair work.
“In the aftermath of widespread storms involving flooding and wind and tree damage to residential buildings, it is a sad but inevitable fact that scammers will come calling, taking advantage of consumer vulnerability,” Mr Stowe said.
“Avoid cold callers and only use a licensed building contractor for work valued at more than $5,000.
“If you are approached by unlicensed tradespeople, report it immediately to Fair Trading.”
For safety reasons Mr Stowe said it is essential all plumbing and electrical work, including work involving damaged solar panels, is only undertaken by a qualified licensed contractor, irrespective of the value of the work to be performed.
“Residents are strongly urged not get up on any roof fitted with solar panels, particularly if tree branches have come down,” he said.
“There can be electrical hazards with solar panels or Photovoltaic Arrays (PV Arrays), which can generate an electrical current as long as there is sunlight, regardless of whether or not the electrical supply from the state grid has been turned off.”
Trade licences can be checked online at the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.
Consumers with house insurance should contact their insurer before engaging contractors to undertake repair work.
Storm damage can be a major issue for landlords, tenants and real estate agents when a rental property is damaged. NSW Fair Trading can provide advice on rights and obligations with regard to urgent repairs and compensation.
Fair Trading can help storm victims by:
• providing information on how to choose suitable tradespeople to carry out repairs
• providing information about deposits and contracts
• advising people in rented accommodation and their landlords about their rights and
• referrals to other service providers, including legal and financial specialists.