Tradies’ shocking rip-off tactics revealed
THE extent of Australia's alarming tradie "rip-off" problem has been revealed - and it seems the majority of us have fallen victim.
New data from tradie website Service Seeking has found a whopping 55 per cent of Australians have been ripped off by a tradie at some point, with members of Gen Z the most likely victims, while Baby Boomers and Gen Y are least likely to be scammed.
And while the average household will undertake five or more jobs around the house per year, it seems the chance of being ripped off is worryingly high.
According to Service Seeking, the biggest tradie complaint among Aussies was "surprise additional costs at the end of the job" followed by tradespeople not sticking to the original quote, and failing to fix the problem they were hired to address.
The good news? Just 2.7 per cent of customers reported having a deposit stolen.
Of those who reported being ripped off, 66 per cent said they confronted the tradie, while 34 per cent had decided to pay the bill without making a fuss - and then never hired the same professional again.
According to Service Seeking co-founder Jeremy Levitt, the key to avoiding rip-offs is to do your research.
"Firstly, comparing a number of quotes at once ensures you get the best price possible and don't overpay - we recommend five quotes at least," he said.
"Secondly, read online reviews thoroughly to make sure other customers haven't had a bad experience before you.
"Thirdly, get everything in writing - a contract is best."
Mr Levitt said most rip-offs happen when customers don't do their due diligence before hiring.
NSW Fair Trading also suggests comparing as many quotes as possible to avoid unreasonable charges.
Its website states written quotations should "include all work to be done, include all materials to be used, reflect your specifications" and "be checked that materials quoted are what you want, not substitutes".
The department also suggests writing a job brief for any job, no matter how small, which should "be as specific as possible, list the brand names and models of all fittings, tiles, appliances, etc that you require, include everything you have in mind about the job you want done" and "be attached to the design plans, if you need them".
It should also indicate if you want the builder to take responsibility for cleaning up the site - because if you don't specify what you want from the get-go, the quote may only include the cheapest products and materials.
It also warned that variations - such as a hidden rock beneath the surface that may need removal - can affect the final price of the work.
But it states that all variations to the contract "must be in writing and signed by both parties".