A Bayswater panel beater who has taken money from customers but failed to complete the work is the target of a public warning by Consumer Protection as well as an appeal for vehicle owners to come forward.
Raymond John Goodall, trading as The Force in Smash Repairs (deregistered), has attracted numerous consumer complaints over many years and currently has dozens of vehicles that have been waiting for repair for a long period of time with Consumer Protection now attempting to locate the owners of all the vehicles.
Mr Goodall’s motor vehicle repairer’s licence was not renewed in April 2019 so he is unable to complete the work legally and his business name was deregistered in March 2019.
During a compliance visit to the business premises by Consumer Protection officers in May 2018, a total of 46 vehicles were observed awaiting repairs with only two full-time repairers employed. Mr Goodall stated at the time that three staff worked part-time and committed to completing outstanding jobs.
The investigation uncovered that information recorded on vehicle ownership was poor, that some vehicles were subject to court actions and some had been kept at the premises for more than three years.
So far this year Consumer Protection has received eight complaints against the business and ten complaints in 2018, including:
- One customer who made two payments of $3,000 and $2,800 in cash and was promised completion within three weeks but is still waiting for the vehicle to be released after 18 months;
- One customer who paid $1,500 in cash and was promised completion within 15 days but, seven months later, was asked to pay $500 more before the vehicle would be released; and
- One customer who paid $1,200 in cash had to get assistance from Police to get their vehicle repaired and returned after three months.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the smash repair business once specialised in repairable write-offs as well as repairing taxis.
“Many of the complainants are taxi or Uber drivers who are losing money every day their vehicle is not on the road, creating even more stress and financial detriment due to loss of income,” Ms Lipscombe said.
“Being unlicensed, Mr Goodall should not be accepting any new jobs and is unable to clear the backlog of work. Attempts by owners to retrieve their vehicles from the Bayswater yard have failed, along with our attempts to resolve the issue.
“While we are aware of some of the owners of the vehicles in the yard, we really need to locate all owners affected, so we urge them to come forward and lodge a complaint so we have their details on record.
“To accept money and agree on a completion date, then not meet that commitment, is a serious breach of the Australian Consumer Law and traders are obliged to provide a refund for work not carried out and, in this case, release the vehicle to the consumer when they request it so they can get the repairs done elsewhere.
“Businesses should not accept deposits and make promises to consumers when they know that their ability to fulfil those commitments within a reasonable time is limited.”
In October 2012 Mr Goodall, trading as The Force in Smash Repairs, was fined a total of $5,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court for operating without a licence and misleading consumers about his licence status.
Consumers who have had unsatisfactory dealings with Mr Goodall and The Force in Smash Repairs or have a vehicle still awaiting repair are urged to lodge an online complaint on the Consumer Protection website