After leaving dozens of Queensland landlords and tenants almost $100,000 out of pocket, a dodgy bond cleaner has been ordered to clean up their act.
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Brisbane District Court has granted a temporary injunction against Australia Bond Cleaning Services owned by Karunesh Kathuria and Amandeep Kaur, effectively banning them from operating until further notice.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) sought the temporary ban order against the cleaning services provider after receiving a total of 215 complaints about the business from consumers in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
In January 2022, then-Fair Trading Commissioner Victoria Thomson reported 95 consumers had complained about Australia Bond Cleaning Services for failing to complete bond cleans, carpet cleaning and pest control on rental properties across South-East Queensland.
In addition to failing to fulfill their contractual obligations, Ms Thomson revealed the trader was not licensed to undertake pest control services, which is regulated due to the use of pesticides that can be harmful to humans and pets.
During that time, the commissioner warned the public against using the firm’s services as they not only fail to “do a proper clean” but also “often leave properties in a worse state than when they arrived”.
“This means another cleaner has to be found to complete the work, or the property owner or tenant has to do the cleaning. This results in extra time and expense, loss in part or all of the tenant’s bond money, or a loss of rent because the property isn’t fit for new tenants,” she stated.
During the proceedings, the regulator also advised the court of numerous allegations where the trader was quoted for a complete bond clean but, once on site, added extra charges for services expected to have been included in the initial quote amount.
Initially, the OFT estimated losses of over $44,000, but the final financial damage to consumers in Queensland of the business stood at almost $100,000.
According to the OFT, the injunction aims to prevent any further consumer detriment by prohibiting the business from operating.
Speaking on the approval of the temporary ban, Acting Fair Trading Commissioner David McKarzel described it as “one of the worst cases of deceitful trading practices that Fair Trading has seen in recent years”.
“The OFT will take action against businesses that don’t abide by the law and if necessary, close them down and seek compensation for consumers.
“Queenslanders deserve to get what they pay for, and this business has repeatedly failed to deliver on its promises,” he remarked.
The injunction will remain in place while the OFT seeks orders to permanently ban the owners from operating any other cleaning business and to recoup the losses suffered by consumers.
Australian Bond Cleaning Services, represented by its owners, subsequently agreed to the orders, which included the removal of its website.
Mr McKarzel offered advice for people who are looking to engage a bond cleaner.
“[Do] your research and ask your property manager, family or friends for recommendations.
“If the cleaner is offering pest control services, check the business is licensed to offer this, and be wary if you are being asked to pay for a service in full before they start the work,” he stated.
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