The Bitumen Bandits may be heading our way, Fair Trading Commissioner Lyn Baker has warned.
Ms Baker is warning consumers not to deal with itinerant traders offering to do asphalt laying.
Ms Baker said these traders were commonly known as Bitumen Bandits and they were the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.
“Fair Trading has received information that a group has recently arrived in Australia from the United Kingdom,” she said.
“The group is very well organised and travels as a family. They move quickly and will target all areas of the State – metropolitan and rural.
“Bitumen Bandits have been operating this month in Taree, Old Bar and Tinonee and we believe they are currently headed further north along the NSW coast.
“A Fair Trading investigator issued fines to the group and it appears they have subsequently quit their accommodation in Old Bar and headed north.”
Ms Baker said the group used well-rehearsed scripts including that ‘they have just completed a bitumen surfacing job down the road and have some left over and so for a reduced price can supply a bitumen surface on driveways if the consumer pays cash or with a cash cheque’.
“These rogues seem to prefer rural areas or housing estates where the homes have a substantial unpaved driveway from the street to the dwelling,” she said.
“After completing the work, they quickly leave the area and consumers are unable to contact them or obtain refunds or warranties.
“These traders have been known to drive consumers to their bank to withdraw cash or to cash a cheque.
“Their work is always substandard and usually fails completely within two to three weeks.”
Ms Baker said Fair Trading was seeking information from consumers who had any contact with itinerant traders in New South Wales.
“Call Fair Trading on 13 32 20,” she said. “All information will be treated confidentially.”