M'boro businessman fined $15k after failing to finish work

FAILING to carry out work he had already been paid for has cost a Maryborough businessman more than $17,000.

James Ree Houston, the sole proprietor of JRH Commercial Property Maintenance, was found guilty of one count of failing to supply services under the Australian Consumer Law.

He failed to appear in court when the matter was heard last week and it was dealt with in his absence.

The court heard in December 2016 Mr Houston entered into a verbal contract with a customer to do a number of maintenance jobs, including installing two cement pads at the base of two exterior steps.

Mr Houston requested $2300 to purchase materials, with the works to start a few days later.

He did preliminary work the following week but never returned to finish the job.

The customer attempted to contact Mr Houston without success and was left with incomplete work at his residence and out of pocket $2300.

Charges were brought by the Office of Fair Trading against Mr Houston for accepting payment for maintenance services he had failed to supply.

In sentencing, the court considered the defendant's lack of co-operation with the Office of Fair Trading and his similar offences, including action taken by the governing body in 2016.

Mr Houtson was fined $15,000 and was ordered to pay $2300 in compensation to the affected customer.

A conviction was recorded.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said contractors supplying goods or services had an obligation to supply them within the time frame promised.

"The OFT website has information for consumers who find themselves left out of pocket after paying for  goods and services."

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