A maintenance contractor who walked away with $2,300 despite never finishing a job has been fined in court and had a criminal conviction registered against him.
James Rees Houston of Maryborough in Queensland, the sole proprietor of JRH Commercial Property Maintenance, was found guilty of breaching Australian Consumer Law by accepting payment for services that were not provided.
Hervey Bay Magistrates Court heard that Mr Houston, who was not present when the verdict was handed down, was hired to undertake a number of maintenance jobs, including the installation of two cement pads.
Mr Houston requested, and was given, $2,300 to purchase materials and agree to commence work several days later. While he did some preliminary work on-site, Mr Houston was found to have not completed the job, and did not return the customer’s repeated attempts to contact him.
The court found Mr Houston guilty, noting similar offences in the past. As well as having a conviction recorded, Mr Houston was fined $15,000 and ordered to repay the $2,300 to the affected customer, as well as $92 in court costs.
It comes just a month after an Adelaide builder was fined $10,600 for ripping off multiple clients, including the theft of a kitchen appliance.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.