Warning against Melbourne Building Works

24/10/2016 13:28

Fresh alert is issued to all consumers against Melbourne Building Works (MBW), now operating under a new name, Melbourne Works Limited (MWL). MWL is in the business of providing construction services, kitchen remodeling and office upgrade works.

More complaints have surfaced against this rogue construction company since the ‘Consumer Alert’ by the Consumer Council of Fiji in the media, cautioning Fijians against Melbourne Building Works in August this year.

The Council is concerned that consumers are being further misled and deceived as Melbourne Building Works has ceased to operate despite owing thousands of dollars to many aggrieved consumers.

Our findings with the Office of Registrar of Companies shows that Melbourne Building Works ceased to operate on 27 October 2015 and from 30 October 2015, a new company was registered under the name of Melbourne Works Limited. Both Companies have the same Director by the name of ‘Manoj Kumar Parekh’. The new company (MWL) has another Director along with Manoj Kumar Parekh.

The Council so far received 23 complaints against Melbourne Building Works with monetary value of $127,505.

In the latest case, the complainant had paid $11,850 to the company on 5 February 2016 and a receipt was issued under Melbourne Building Works. This is under the company, which has ceased its operation. The services were hired for the construction of Australian standard kitchen.

The work started after 17 weeks from the payment date and on completion, the complainant found the work to be unsatisfactory. This was due to the fact that the construction was not up to the Australian standard as initially agreed. The matter was raised with the company director and the complainant sought a refund of $4,000. However, the company refused to provide the refund.

In another case, a couple also paid $11,000 to the same company hiring their services for mega kitchen works. The payment was made by the complainants on 11 July 2016, nonetheless, the work is incomplete although the complainants were assured by the company to have the kitchen completed by 18 October 2016. This did not materialise, leaving the complainants in a difficult situation as they expected visitors for Diwali. This is a matter of embarrassment as the family will not have a proper kitchen to entertain their visitors.

The third case concerns a Regional Organisation. They paid around $12,556 to Melbourne Building Works in December 2015 to facilitate office furniture such as workstations, office shelves, boardroom tables and boardroom chairs and remaining amount was to be made on the date of receipt of the furniture. To date, they have not received all the items paid for.

In the three cases, the Director of the company issued receipts under the name of Melbourne Building Works- a company that ceased operation in 2015. Our investigations confirm that this company is in breach of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 – (Section 88(1) (a)1.

Our concern is that consumers are being taken for a ride by the Director’s false promises and his conniving ways. This is a daylight robbery, a fraud. We are urging the relevant enforcement authorities to take prompt action against this company.

It is not late yet before he swindles more consumers. Our approach is to address this before more people are affected. We don’t want another scam similar to the land developer, Mukesh Naidu who is now facing the full brunt of the law for misleading consumers. Mukesh Naidu is alleged to have obtained $3 million dollars from consumers, promising them land lots in Tacirua. In some cases, he sold the same piece of land twice or thrice.

We also request the Media outlets to join us in exposing such companies that are out to hoodwink unsuspecting consumers. Media must stand up for consumer-justice and not be gagged by such dishonest businessmen who threaten to file civil law suits against the press. He used his lawyer to threaten the Media and Consumer Council for defamation. The Council stands by its statement against this rogue service provider whose ulterior motive is to make money at the consumers’ expense. The Council will not sit back and allow consumers to be duped due to legal threats by the company.

Consumers who are facing similar situation with Melbourne Building Works are urged to lodge their complaints. Call us on the toll-free National Consumer Helpline No: 155.

Section 88(1) states that: “A person shall not, in trade or commerce, accept payment or other consideration for goods or services where, at the time of the acceptance – (a) the person intends (i) not to supply the goods or services; or (ii) to supply goods or services materially different from the goods or services in respect of which the payment or other consideration is accepted.”.