A new website has been launched in Western Australia that will take the guess work out of locating fully licensed service providers.
The website, which is being launched by the Department of Commerce will allow consumers to find out whether service providers, such as real estate agents, electricians and plumbers are licensed.
Commissioner for consumer protection, Anne Driscoll, believes the new tool will make it easier than ever before for consumers to locate fully licensed service providers, taking out any of the guess work.
“Consumer Protection encourages consumers to carry out research when selecting tradespeople, and this free online search facility will enable people to find licensed service providers quickly and easily,” she said.
“The system can also be used by consumers who wish to verify a licence number being used by a tradesperson.”
David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) welcomed the new initiative.
“It gives consumers confidence that their dealings with an agent will be protected… Agents will also feel protected from rogue operators.
“If an agent or sales rep is properly licensed and working to help a consumer with services, we don’t want rogues operating in that space, creating problems for us.”
However Tim McKibbin, president of the REINSW, said he was surpirsed there wasn't a website like this already avaliable in WA.
"I know that we have one already in NSW. Afterall, what's the point of licensing people if consumers have no way of finding out? I am very surprised to hear this is only happening now."
However, Mr Airey believes it is timely.
“I don't think it's overdue... It indicates how proactive the [Department of Commerce] is in the real estate space. They work well with REIWA, who represent over 90 per cent of WA agents, and this is a further indication of how a regulator and member body can work in harmony to benefit consumers.”
Ms Driscoll highlighted the danger of using an unlicensed service provider.
“For example, an unlicensed motor vehicle repairer may not fix your car correctly, which could potentially be life threatening if the vehicle is not roadworthy as a result of dodgy workmanship.
“Using unlicensed electrical contractors, plumbers or gas fitters could have equally serious consequences.”
Visit the website here.