Unlicensed building works costs Mitchell James Cole $57,100, 200 hours community service
Sydney man Mitchell James Cole has been sentenced to a two-year Community Corrections
Order, 200 hours of community service, fined $26,000, and ordered to pay $31,200 in compensation after pleading guilty to 17 charges arising from residential building work
Mr Cole accepted $125,820 to complete residential building work that he was not licensed or
insured to do and left some of the work incomplete or defective.
NSW Fair Trading Executive Director of Investigations and Enforcement Valerie Griswold
said the offences occurred between May 2018 and August 2019 after Mr Cole entered into
contracts with four different consumers.
“One consumer paid for a partial internal renovation, balcony extension and pergola and was
left with incomplete cladding works, a roof that did not meet Australian Standards, a water
damaged ceiling, incomplete external dressing, substandard framing work and other
defects,” Ms Griswold said.
“Another consumer hired him to fix her gutters and was left with gutters that did not join,
down pipes that did not collect water and damaged roof tiles.
“The third paid for a pool renovation in February of 2019 and by June 2019 the pool
renovation was left incomplete and defective.
“The fourth consumer paid for a glass pool fence and was left with 22 drill holes along the
pool but no fence.
“This is illegal conduct and I urge consumers to take necessary precautions when hiring the
services of a tradesperson before handing over any money or allowing work to go ahead,
such as a licence check and getting multiple quotes.”
Mr Cole was convicted of 16 offences under the Home Building Act 1989 including
contracting to do work without a licence, demanding deposits exceeding 10% of the contract
price and doing work without the required insurance under the Home Building Compensation
Fund. Mr Cole was also convicted of one offence under the Australian Consumer Law for
accepting payment for goods and services and failing to provide the goods or services within
a reasonable time.
This is the third time NSW Fair Trading has prosecuted Mr Cole, who has not ever held a
contractor’s licence or tradesperson certificate.
In 2017 Mr Cole was convicted and ordered by the court to pay fines.
Despite the conviction, Mr Cole continued his illegal conduct and NSW Fair Trading again
prosecuted him. In 2018, the court convicted Cole and ordered that he pay fines of $33,000.
Consumers looking to engage the services of a tradesperson should always check the NSW
Government’s contractor licence check tool, which will verify the licence status of a
tradesperson and list any current or previous compliance action taken against them.
Mr Cole has a right of appeal.