Penalties and compensation worth more than a quarter of a million dollars have been handed down to a Queensland tradesman, after a court found him guilty of using a fake licence to advertise for jobs that then went unfinished.
Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) laid charges against Ali Faraj — who it said also uses the aliases Ali Mousselmani, Kamil Kassem and Kamil Mousselmani — for breach of Australian Consumer Law by accepting payment for goods not delivered and making false representations to consumers.
In a statement, OFT said that the Gold Coast Magistrates Court convicted Mr Faraj on four charges after ruling that he had taken payments totalling $204,000 for three separate building jobs between 14 October 2017 and 23 February 2018.
The court found, however, that the bulk of these works — accounting for $193,500 worth — was never completed.
Subcontractors hired by Mr Faraj subsequently removed materials they had installed after they did not receive payment, it noted.
Mr Faraj had also used a false building licence number when advertising for building services, the court was told.
The legal action followed a public warning by OFT for consumers not to engage Mr Faraj after it received complaints about him.
Fair Trading acting executive director Craig Turner urged anyone looking to hire a tradesperson to ensure they are properly qualified and registered.
“If you see a licence number in an advertisement, conduct a QBCC licence search to ensure you’re dealing with someone legitimate,” he said, referring to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. Other states and territories have their own registers.
Mr Turner also advised anyone hiring tradespeople to “be vigilant, know your consumer rights and do your research before handing over large sums of money”.
“Remember to source multiple quotes and only use reputable traders that don’t insist on large up-front payments,” he said.
It is not the first time that Mr Faraj has fallen afoul of fair trading authorities.
In November 2013, South Australia’s Commissioner for Consumer Affairs issued a similar public warning about “Ali Faraj (formally known as Kamel Kaseem and Kamel Mousselmani)”, who it said had undertaken building work services in an unsatisfactory manner and had operated as both a building work contractor and a second-hand vehicle dealer without having the required licences.
That action resulted in penalties totalling $90,000 and an order of $60,000 compensation to affected consumers, as well as an open-ended ban on working in building services and as a director of a body corporate that is a building work contractor.
Queensland's Office of Fair Trading confirmed to My Business that both cases pertain to the same Mr Faraj.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.