NSW Fair Trading warns consumers about flood damage scams


Consumers are being warned of opportunistic tradespeople trying to take advantage during the flood recovery process as NSW takes steps to get back on its feet.

Commissioner for NSW Fair Trading Rose Webb said unfortunately these scammers often try to take advantage of vulnerable people during times like these and urged consumers to be on the alert.

“With the destructive floods across NSW, consumers are reminded that anyone who undertakes work to rebuild or repair damaged homes is required to have a valid licence,” Ms Webb said.

“Avoid workers who simply show up without contact to offer their services and consumers should also check with their insurance provider before authorising any home repairs.

“Consumers should avoid cash transactions if possible as credit card payments are a better option as chargebacks from banks may be available.

“Lastly, it’s also a good idea to ask family and friends for a recommendation rather than choosing a trader from an advertisement.”

Previous instances brought to the attention of NSW Fair Trading has shown that unlicensed tradespeople may target affected communities offering house repairs, concreting, paving, structural landscaping, and roof repairs amongst other services. These services require a licence if the work is valued at over $5000.

Fair Trading offers an online tool on its website where consumers can verify licence details and check whether a contractor or tradesperson is qualified to do the job.

Consumers are urged to do these checks before approving traders to commence work. The register is available at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online-tools/home-building-licence-check

When choosing a tradesperson or contractor, NSW Fair Trading advises consumers:

  • Get two or more written quotes for the job
  • Do not hand over money before meeting your tradesperson
  • Ask the trader for references and examples of past work
  • Avoid payments without a written contract
  • Avoid traders who charge significant deposits

Anyone who has had problems in their dealings with tradespeople or contractors can lodge a complaint online.

For more information about what to look out for when rebuilding after a natural disaster, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/news-and-updates/news/natural-disasters