Warning as ‘bitumen bandits’ target region

SOUTHERN Downs residents are warned to keep an eye out for a group of known bitumen bandits operating in the Darling Downs area.

The Office of Fair Trading has warned householders to be wary of bitumen layers who offer 'limited time only' price reductions on driveways and claim to have bitumen left over from another job.

The men previously advertised their services in a number of Brisbane newspapers, but fled the area earlier this month after being approached by Fair Trading investigators.

The group has placed ads in newspapers in the Chinchilla, Dalby, Roma and Kilcoy areas. Residents are urged to exercise extreme caution as the bandits could encroach on the Southern Downs.

The ads include misleading statements about surplus stock, limited time availability and discounts in order to entice consumers to respond.

The men, last seen driving trucks with Victorian licence plates, are known to perform sub-standard work using watered-down materials, and pressure residents into paying more money than originally agreed.

They are known to have Irish or English accents.

Residents are reminded extra protections for door-to-door agreements do not apply if you make first contact with the trader, although you still have the usual protections under the Australian Consumer Law.

If these or other traders do approach you door-to-door, ensure you know your rights.

First and foremost door-to-door traders must leave your premises immediately if you ask them to.

If approached by bitumen bandits or other itinerant traders, consumers are requested to take notes about the trader and the registration number of their vehicle, and contact the Office of Fair Trading via http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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