Unlicensed pool builder fined $175K

Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Unlicensed pool builder fined $175K

The Adelaide Magistrates Court has found an unlicensed builder in breach of consumer protection laws and subsequently fined him $175,000.

Peter John Wooton, sole director of Simplified Installs t/as Australia Pools and Patios, had entered into contracts with seven clients for installation of swimming pools and associated works, according to the Attorney-General’s Department of South Australia.

The contracts ranged in value from $33,000 to $130,000, and in most cases, works delivered were either substandard or incomplete. Some clients also complained of damage to property as a result of works undertaken by Wooton. Three clients had paid deposits and received nothing in return.

The court was told that in many cases, Wotton had used a fake builder’s licence number on invoices, and that Wotton also entered into a contract with a client worth around $130,000 after being warned by authorities that his actions were illegal and when he knew his business was in financial trouble.

In court, Wotton admitted to breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and the Building Work Contractor’s Act. Magistrate Brett Dixon fined him $175,000 and ordered he pay a total of $58,964.40 in compensation to four clients. In addition, Wotton was barred from managing companies for the next seven years.

“These were significant breaches that left a number of consumers out of pocket,” Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said.

“Wotton never held an appropriate licence and continued to engage in work, even after he’d been warned his actions were illegal.

“I’m pleased to see the court recognise the seriousness of these offences and impose a significant fine and order compensation,” Soulio said.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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