Posted by Fair Trading NSW
on 28 September 2017
A Sydney husband and wife have been fined a combined total of $90,000 after their company contracted to do significant residential building work without the required licence.
In 2015, Tevita and Siosiana Ungounga's company, T & T Sandstone Construction Pty Ltd, entered into a $350,000 contract with a consumer to build a three-bedroom house and pergola in East Hills.
Parramatta Local Court heard that neither the couple nor their company was licensed to contract or carry out this work. The court also heard that a licence number held by another person was displayed on the paperwork.
It was also found that the company accepted excessive deposits and started work without home warranty insurance, which is required by law for any contract worth more than $20,000. In addition, the company failed to complete work within the time frame specified in the contract.
Following complaints by the consumer, NSW Fair Trading launched an investigation, uncovering evidence that the company had contracted to do residential building work for two other customers in East Hills and Campsie for a total value of $325,000.
Tevita Ungounga, 51, pleaded guilty to 10 Home Building Act 1989 offences, as well as a breach of the Australian Consumer Law. He was convicted and last week ordered to pay $54,000 in fines, plus $2,878 in costs.
In separate proceedings, Siosiana Ungounga, also 51, pleaded guilty to six Home Building Act offences and one Australian Consumer Law breach. She was convicted and fined $36,000, and also ordered to pay costs totalling $2,538.
"These matters illustrate why it is so important for consumers to conduct thorough research into contractors before entering into an agreement for residential building work," Lynelle Collins, NSW Fair Trading's Acting Executive Director, Building & Construction Service, said.
"It also serves as a reminder for consumers to know their rules and rights, so they can protect themselves against unscrupulous traders," Ms Collins said.
Tevita and Siosiana Ungounga have 28 days to lodge an appeal to their sentences.