Double glazing firm accused of scamming homeowners out of thousands


May 16, 2016 13:04:53

Dozens of Melbourne homeowners say they have been left out of pocket by as much as $25,000 each after paying deposits to a window company which failed to deliver their products.

Key points:

  • Warning issued about company by Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Over 49 complaints made since start of the year
  • Mr Heath denies scam, blames those managing while he was injured
  • Says company was “probably” insolvent since March

Consumer Affairs Victoria has issued a warning about Australian Double Glazing and its director, John Heath, after receiving more than 49 complaints about the company since the start of the year.

Mr Heath has denied it is a scam, saying he suffered a workplace neck injury in July last year and had to hand over the management of the company to others, who he said did not run it properly.

He told AM that 95 per cent of the deposits received by his company last year had been delivered.

However, windows still have not been delivered to customers who paid deposits as early as May last year.

Mr Heath said the company was “probably” insolvent and estimated it had been so since early March.

And he said he had met with administrators.

AM has documents from 20 customers, including an apartment owners corporation who have not received their windows, and who have paid more than $230,000 in deposits in total.

‘I think it was simple theft of money’

Among the homeowners who say they have been scammed are Yvonne and Allan Dempster, who decided to use Yvonne’s retrenchment package to replace their old windows with double glazed windows.

They paid their deposit in August last year, and were told their windows would arrive within 20 weeks.

“Nothing was heard from them, not a squeak, until we started chasing them at the end of January this year asking where the windows were,” Mr Dempster said.

“Their response was that the windows had been manufactured, that they were waiting shipment from the UK.”

Mr Dempster said they had since confirmed their windows were never even ordered from Australian Double Glazing’s supplier in the United Kingdom.

Mr Dempster said they were $24,250 out of pocket.

Another customer, Renata Mistarz, confronted Mr Heath in person to demand the return of her $11,000 deposit, but Mr Heath refused.

“I think it was simple theft of money, that’s what I think,” Ms Mistraz said.

“He was not afraid of lawyers, he knew that it would be very difficult for me to take him to court because it would involve even more money than I gave to him, so it looked to me like he knew that right from the start.

“But then again this is my hypothesis and might not be true.”

And Peter Funnell, another customer, said he was almost $10,000 out of pocket.

“At this stage I pretty much believe the company’s gone out of business and we’ve lost our deposits — I’d just like to know where the money went,” he said.

Warning issued about entering into agreement with company

Consumer Affairs Victoria has said that consumers should be cautious about entering into any agreements with Australian Double Glazing or Mr Heath.

Those who do should specify ‘cash on delivery’ payment as a term of any agreement.

Consumer Affairs Victoria said those who paid by credit card can seek a chargeback from their financial institution.

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First posted

May 16, 2016 09:36:14

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