VBA warns of unregistered online service adverts
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has warned Victorians of anyone offering their building or plumbing services via online marketplaces or apps with some being unregistered and working illegally.
It stresses the importance of checking the credentials of anyone advertising online and ensuring that they’re registered or licensed professionals.
The VBA is currently investigating a number of unregistered people who were advertising services through online forums.
VBA executive director of operations Lynda McAlary-Smith says consumers should make sure they are dealing with a registered or licensed practitioner before agreeing to any work: “Anyone looking to hire someone to work on their home should take some simple steps to protect themselves and their properties.
“You can check whether the builder or plumber you’re looking to use is registered with the VBA and whether they’ve faced any disciplinary action.”
She adds that in some cases, people are pretending to be registered builders or licensed plumbers and carry out works that require proper training and accreditation. This includes the installation of gas heaters or the construction of walls, both of which can have critical safety risks if installed or constructed incorrectly.
“Repairing or rectifying non-compliant work can also run into the thousands of dollars, putting added financial strain on homeowners,” she says.
“Building a house or renovating is often the biggest investment most people will ever make, so it is important homeowners protect themselves.”
In Victoria, consumers need to use a registered builder or building company for domestic building work worth more than $10,000.
The VBA has put together five signs the builder or plumber is unregistered or unlicensed:
- They cannot be found on the VBA’s Find A Practitioner search engine
- They do not ask you to enter into a written contract before work begins
- They ask for too much money upfront or at each payment stage
- They are not prepared to tell you about, or show you, examples of recent work or provide contact details of former clients
- They cannot or will not show you their VBA ID card