BLACKTOP BLUES: Residents warned of ‘bitumen bandits’ targeting regional SA property owners

THE CLARE Valley has recently become the target of a group fast becoming known as the ‘bitumen bandits’ – travelling tradies who are targeting homeowners offering them ’super deals’ to bitumise their rubble driveways.

Generally targeting regional areas, the crew of ‘bitumen bandits’ will go door-to-door claiming they have ‘leftover bitumen’ from highway or council road works, offering to lay the bitumen on your driveway at a highly reduced rate.

These scammers offer a quick and nasty service with most of their bitumen laid in under three hours depending on the size of the area.

At the majority of their jobs the offenders request cash payments and will quickly flee after payment has been made.

Offenders will leave no trace once the shoddy work has been completed, with no invoices, receipts or quotes given to property owners and fake business names often utilised, leaving the bandits nameless, faceless and traceless for the police.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio has been presented with eight scams across separate properties spanning the entire state.

“To date this year, we’ve had reports from Nuriootpa, Pooraka, Edinburgh North, One Tree Hill, Moppa, Ramco, Clare and Lonsdale,” Mr Soulio said.

“These people are unlicenced and the works completed will often be substandard and will need to be redone.”

To date, at least two consumers have paid more than $20,000 for the sub-standard work, which demonstrates just how easy it is to fall prey to these scammers.

Mr Soulio said consumers need to be reminded that if someone knocks at your door offering you cheap bitumen work, to not accept any offers.

“Never engage this kind of work on the spur of a moment – do your research. Check they’re licenced, get quotes from other businesses and talk to other people who have had similar work done by reputable tradies,” Mr Soulio said.