We asked leading reno expert Cherie Barber to tackle a question from a reader about how to deal with poor quality workmanship from tradespeople.
Q: I’ve just done a kitchen reno using a company that was recommended to me by friends. Unfortunately, there are a few big issues with the quality of the work, ie the cabinet doors are coming off, some of the shelves were not put in properly and the oven wasn’t installed properly. I’ve contacted the company but they told me that I will have to pay for this to be rectified. What are my rights in this situation? Can I demand them to do the repairs without paying?
You definitely have a right to have defective work made good. Your first point of call is to not pay the invoice in full until you are 100% happy with the works being completed. If you’ve already paid this, your next step is to call the consumer protection agency in your state in NSW, for example, it’s the Department of Fair Trading) and check what your rights are and the best course of action under your rights with Home Warranty Insurance. This is an insurance to protect consumers against poor workmanship but it is subject to the nature of works and what your contract stipulated before commencing the job. Tradespeople are legally obliged to take out this insurance for contracts over a certain dollar amount; the threshold differs from state to state. If the company you dealt with took out this insurance, and you’ve exhausted all avenues to have them rectify the problems, you may be able to claim under this insurance. Your next step, check your rights with the consumer agency in your state.
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