Bitumen bandits strike again in Central Queensland

Roving bitumen traders offering driveway repairs and bitumen laying services are back targeting consumers in Central Queensland warns the Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman.

Minister Fentiman is advising residents and businesses that this is the latest iteration of a long-running scam on unaware Queenslanders.

“Bitumen layers, also known as bitumen bandits, are complete scammers and Office of Fair Trading have heard reports of them trying to scam residents in Kawana this week,” Minister Fentiman said.

“The left-over bitumen story is a common tactic but they do vary their approaches and mix and match their sales pitches.

“Sometimes watered-down bitumen is laid on ungraded or poorly graded ground and consumers find themselves further out of pocket as they later have to pay another trader to have it removed and replaced.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said on some occasions the scammers quote a low cost then a much higher payment is demanded during the work for it to be completed.

“Consumers are almost forced to comply because if the work isn’t finished, they can’t get their car out of the garage,” O’Rourke said.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga told her community to keep an eye out too for bitumen bandits.

“Sometimes the scammers simply take large deposits, perform no work, and never return. There is no way to get a refund as these types of traders usually vanish,” Lauga said.

Central Queensland residents are reminded that door-to-door traders must generally not accept payment or commence work on a property within a 10-business day cooling-off period, and consumers can cancel any agreement within this period without penalty.

Door to door traders must leave your premises if directed and must not approach any residence displaying a ‘do not knock’ notice or sticker. Queensland residents can order a free sticker from the OFT website.

If you think you have seen these traders, contact the Office of Fair Trading on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) so we can track their movements and warn other consumers.

NSW Fair Trading put out a similar warning earlier last month after reports the travelling conmen had reared their heads in the Tamworth, Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Forster areas.

These scammers have been active for decades, offering cheap labour, usually bitumen laying or sometimes roofing, only to take off with the consumer’s cash before completing the service or carrying out shoddy work, such as simply spraying black tinted paint.

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