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NSW Scammed by Contractor - Now His Wife is Threatening Legal Action

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Diana, 10 September 2014.

  1. Diana

    Diana Member

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    I posted a kitchen repair job on Service Seeking website and a contractor contacted me to complete my job requested. Initially he was very professional, responding straight away, and communication was well. He came out to my house and saw the kitchen remodel that we needed and we went back and fourth agreeing on a final price and design. After signing the quotation and paying him money for a deposit and another payment for materials ($2500.00) to commence the job, we have not been able to get in contact with him only to receive an email from his address but signed at the bottom by his wife saying he has gone overseas for a funeral and will be in contact next week and one month passed and still no word from him.

    I believe he has no intention of commencing the work he has been paid to do.
    It has been over 8 weeks, we have sent him numerous emails, phone calls and texts, left messages and it now seems like he has ran off with our money. After being really concerned I was looking on the internet for reviews about him and came across reviews from people who have had the exact same experience with him, and one person has taken him to NSW Fair Trading and they could not track him down and he does not show up to the tribunal hearings.

    I then found him on Facebook and found the details of his wife and contacted her to tell him to give me my money back, I told her:- "I have many contacts and he will not be getting away with this as he has done with other people whom I have already been in contact with."
    Then when she denied to know him I said:-
    "I have gathered great information about …. and know all his details including who he lives with."

    She is now telling me that she has been to a solicitor as these are serious threats and police action will be taken. I want to know if I have said anything wrong by law or is she trying to scare me away. And also, do I have a case under Australian Consumer Law against this kitchen contractor to get my money back?

    Below is the conversation with his wife:-



    ME:-
    Hi
    My name is … and I hired your partner … to do our kitchen a while ago and after paying the deposit and another payment for materials we have not been able to get in contact with him. I'm sorry for contacting you but I'm really concerned and had no other alternative. My husband and I have called numerous times, left messages, emailed etc. with no response and initially before giving him money he was very professional and communicating well with us, as you can see this has left us really worried.

    I have looked into contacting lawyers and the department of fair trading and also have contacts within the production of A Current Affair television segment whom are doing a piece about tradesmen that commit fraud and as it seems that we have had one kitchen contractors in the past who has run off with our money and left our kitchen in shambles and potentially another one who is doing the same, they are very interested in our story.
    I would like to avoid this headache if possible so would you please get him to get in contact with us and give us our money back before we make him pay interest on top of the money owing, we have many contacts and he will not be getting away with this as he has done with other people whom I have already been in contact with.
    Regards


    HER:-
    I really have no idea what you are talking about.
    I am sorry I can not be of any help to you.


    ME:-
    You emailed me about him a while ago (or it was your husband pretending to be you, see attached screenshot)
    I have gathered great information about …. and know all his details including who he lives with. He has just contacted me saying he will transfer my money so still waiting for transfer receipt. we will see if he being honest this time......


    HER:-
    I am sorry that email was not sent by me I am not ….. and never been known my that name. I am also not the manager of that company as I am employed else where.
    Could you please tell me how contact was made to you.


    ME:-
    Isn't that a photo of you with him ….. (I attached her facebook profile pic of her with the cam artist)


    HER:-
    It is but I'm not …... That email was never sent from me or our computer and he never went overseas for a funeral. And I am not employed by ….. Again how was contact made to you today as we aren't in Syd?


    ME:-
    I have met …. twice before in person before he scammed me for my money. Contact was made to me by … from his email that he has used to previously contact me in the past.
    Tell him to send me evidence that he has transferred the money today, bank transfer receipt or screen shot of the transfer


    HER:-
    I really have no idea what is going on here and I have been in contact with my solicitor and have forwarded these messages in regards to your threats " we have contacts" and " knowing his details including who he lives with" he has advised me to have no further contact with you and advised that these threats are serious and will be contacting/ forwarding these to the police.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Not a lawyer so can't comment about the 'law' part. However she is not a party to your kitchen contract. She has asked you to stop talking with her so you should.

    And yes you definitely have a case against the contractor. Send him a demand letter asap.
     
  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Diana,

    Yes, I agree with Rod. Stop contacting the "wife". It may be that he signed a random woman's name down as his "wife" and the person you are talking to really has no idea who the contractor is.

    You do have an action against the contractor, however, this is not helpful unless you can actually locate him. Do you have any details about hi that may help you track him down? You can start legal action against him in any event. That way, there will be court judgment against him should he show up in the future.
     
  4. Worldly1

    Worldly1 Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Diana
    I agree - keep trying to find more information about location - if he had an ABN or ACN, you can use that business number to get more personal information for example through ASIC. You can still lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.

    Have you also contacted Service Seeking and lodged a complaint? Then they can at least be made aware and then hopefully shut down his account on their site.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Diana,

    Further to the above responses, even if you cannot find him at the moment, you can initiate court action to recover in any case. What will happen is the court will give you a number of days to try and serve the writ/statement of claim to the contractor (i.e. defendant). If he has a registered place of business, or if he is a sole trader with a residential/business address, you may serve it there. If you still cannot locate him during this time and if you cannot find any postal address to send the documents, you may apply to the court (i.e. seek court permission) to serve by unusual means, such as an advertisement in the local/national paper. Then, if the defendant does not file a response to the court and to yourself within the specified time period, you may apply to court for a default judgment (i.e. a judgment by the court where the other party does not appear to respond/defend against the claim). With the default judgment, you may be able to place a charge on any assets belonging to the defendant in order to recoup damages and costs.

    Again, you will need to ask yourself whether this is worth it. Questions: how much, in total, are you out of pocket and therefore, seeking as compensation (i.e. damages)? Does the defendant have any significant assets you can claim against for damages should the defendant fail to respond/defend/pay?

    However, I do suggest speaking with Fair Trading first, as @Worldly1 suggested.
     
    Nighthelyn likes this.

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