Victoria Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien
Rogue Builder Convicted
Victor P Taffa
An unregistered builder has received a criminal conviction and a $35,000 fine after failing to complete major renovations and roofing work for two Victorian families.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has won its case against Mark Crellin formerly of Wandin North and the sole director of Impact Building and Electrica Pty Ltd after two consumers made formal complaints over $62,000 worth of unfinished work in Frankston and Millgrove, northwest of Melbourne.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien said Mr. Crellin and Impact Building and Electrical Pty Ltd were prosecuted by Consumer Affairs Victoria at the Ringwood Magistrates Court for 15 different offences under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and Fair Trading Act 1999 including:
- Entering into a major domestic building contract whilst unregistered;
- Taking excessive deposits;
- Failing to complete the work within a reasonable time;
- Failing to supply all the goods or supplying goods materially different to the contract;
- Failing to use a contract that complied at all.
“Mr. Crellin has suffered the consequences of failing to deliver on the promises he made to two consumers who entered into contracts with him in good faith and now has a criminal conviction against his name and a $35,000 penalty to pay, plus legal costs.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“This penalty serves as a deterrent to anyone who would put Victorian consumers through this kind of disruption to their lives and leave them financially and emotionally vulnerable.”
“While thousands of Victorians have relatively trouble-free building and renovating experiences, rogue builders such as Mr. Crellin are in our sights.”
The consumer in Millgrove entered into a $46,000 contract in April 2009 to renovate, including restumping, new decking, replacement of doors and windows, and an overhaul of the kitchen and bathroom, but the work was left incomplete.
The family in Frankston entered into a contract worth around $16,000 to replace the roof, electrical and flashing work, and plastering and painting, but the work was left incomplete and defective.
Mr. O’Brien encouraged anyone building or renovating to always use a registered building practitioner. Anyone reblocking, restumping or demolishing a home must also be registered.
“We encourage homeowners to get recommendations from friends and family, ask for and check references, and never hand over a deposit of more than 5 to 10 % depending on the contract cost.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“There is a wealth of information on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website and elsewhere to check whether a builder has a history of flouting building laws, as well as checklists to help you monitor the progress of works and know how to talk to your builder about any issues.”
During the current financial year, Consumer Affairs Victoria has secured court orders against rogue builders totalling $118,000 in fines and $135,970 in compensation to consumers.