Be wary of itinerant tradespeople who travel from door to door seeking work. Itinerants have no fixed address or place of business and move frequently so they can target new suburbs. Some itinerants target older people who may be unable to maintain their homes themselves.
- usually call uninvited
- prefer cash payments
- do not supply proper receipts or written contracts
- may have easily removable signs on their trucks (or none at all) or drive unmarked vans
- can't provide you with identification or a Queensland Building Services Authority licence
- may try to win your sympathy by telling you a hard luck story
- may try to convince you they are offering a good deal because they 'are in the area' or because they have products 'left over from another job'
- if you employ someone who trades in this way and the work or the goods are not satisfactory, it will be difficult to track them down to fix the job or provide a refund.
If you are approached by an itinerant trader:
- ask to see a Queensland Building Services Authority licence
- don't pay cash or pay for anything upfront, not even materials
- don't let the tradesperson offer to take you to the bank
- demand a receipt with the trader's name and street address on it.
Itinerant traders are bound by door-to-door sales laws, including the provision of a 10 business day cooling-off period in which they can not take any money from you.
National travelling con men campaign
You can´t tell a dodgy tradesperson by the way they look.
Australia´s fair trading agencies have joined forces on a national campaign raising awareness of travelling con men and itinerant traders.
Signs that an offer of home repairs may be dubious include:
- someone looking like a trader knocks on your door uninvited
- the quote for home improvement or repair work is cheap, cash-only, today only and you are pressured into accepting it immediately
- the person demands payment for the job before any work has begun.
Report suspected travelling con men to the national hotline on 1300 133 408. Sightings are recorded on an interactive map on the campaign´s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StopTravellingConMen. You can also stay updated on Twitter with #stopconmen.
Real life story
Read a real life story about being wary of itinerant traders.
Last reviewed 11/04/2013