A panel beater from the Perth suburb of Bayswater has been fined a total of $18,000 and ordered to pay $3,000 in compensation after pleading guilty to several consumer law breaches and operating without a licence.
Raymond John Goodall, of The Force in Smash Repairs (since deregistered), was sentenced at Perth Magistrates Court following a prosecution brought by the Consumer Protection office in WA.
Consumer Protection had previously issued a warning about Goodall in September 2019. This followed several complaints from customers who had paid money but were still waiting for their vehicles to be repaired or returned – in some cases for more than three years.
In the recent court case, Goodall was fined $15,000 for six breaches of the Australian Consumer Law for wrongly accepting payment from six consumers for car repairs that were not done within a reasonable time, or at all.
Customer found no work done after five months
He was ordered to pay $2,200 in compensation to one customer, who had paid in advance for repairs to two vehicles in April 2019. However, the customer found that no work had been done when he collected the vehicles from Goodall five months later.
An $800 compensation order was also issued for another client after Goodall failed to complete repairs on his car within five weeks, as promised.
Additionally, the accused was fined $3,000 for breaching laws related to carrying out motor vehicle repair work that requires a licence. Goodall last held the relevant licence in April 2019, but admitted in court that he took payment for prescribed work – such as painting and panel beating – after this time.
Goodall was previously fined in 2012 for operating without a licence and misleading consumers about his licence status.
Traders are expected to keep their promises
During the recent sentencing, Magistrate Joe Randazzo noted that Goodall should have been aware of his obligations after 40 years in the industry and the previous offence.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping, said the Australian Consumer Law aims to establish standards of behaviour for traders, who are expected to keep their promises.
“When consumers pay in advance, either in full or as a deposit, they are entitled to receive goods or services within the agreed timeframe or within a reasonable time,” she said.
“Mr Goodall disregarded this when he accepted more than $12,000 from six different customers over a 15-month period, but failed to supply all materials and services within a reasonable time. Some vehicles were never repaired. Each car owner no doubt experienced stress, inconvenience and potentially loss of income as a result.”