Several renters have been taken to the cleaners by a fraudulent scheme targeting tenants trying to get their bond back.
Tenants in Western Australia have lost money after being duped into paying for end of tenancy bond cleaning on their rental properties.
The cleaners pocket the cash but never show up to do the job, Consumer Protection said on its website.
It warned tenants not to use the services of Express Professional Services Pty Ltd, trading as Simple Cleans, an online business operated by Cassandra Nicole Cooney who is based in Alstonville, near Ballina in northern NSW.
Ms Cooney has previously been convicted of fraud charges brought by NSW Police, was convicted by the Office of Fair Trading Queensland for contravening consumer law, and was the subject of warnings issued by NSW Fair Trading and NT Consumer Affairs.
Authorities are in the process of shutting down Ms Cooney’s business website, www.simplebondcleans.com.au. In the meantime, tenants and consumers are advised to avoid making bookings or payments on the site.
Other business names believed to be operated by Ms Cooney include:
- Moving Out Cleans
- Bond Cleaning Online
- Easy Cleaning Services
- Express Bond Cleaning
- Express End of Lease Cleaning
- Express Professional Services
- Express Commercial Cleans
- Express Home Cleaning
- Bond Cleaners Trust
- Bond Cleaners Australia
- Total Domestic
Acting commissioner for consumer protection David Hillyard said Consumer Protection has received complaints from eight tenants in WA claiming to have paid Simple Cleans a total of $3,450 this year alone.
“Most of the complaints have been received in recent months after the tenants paid via bank transfer for a bond clean booked online, but were left high and dry and out of pocket,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Most complaints are from renters vacating a property and requiring it to be cleaned by a specific date in order to have their rental bond returned, and one complaint was received from a real estate agent on behalf of tenants.”
Mr Hillyard said the tenants contacted Ms Cooney, when their cleaners failed to show up, did not receive the refunds they were entitled to.
“It is a serious breach of consumer law to accept payment for services and then fail to carry out those services. In this situation tenants shouldn’t pay any money upfront and pay only after the cleaning has been carried out to a satisfactory standard,” he said.
“We strongly recommend that WA tenants do not have any dealings whatsoever with Simple Cleans or any of the various businesses operated by Ms Cooney and avoid making bookings on the website she operates.”
WA tenants who have had unsatisfactory dealings with Simple Cleans or Ms Cooney should contact Consumer Protection by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.