Lockyer carpenter took 20k deposit, never did the job
A WELL-KNOWN Lockyer Valley carpenter took a huge deposit from a client but never completed the job, landing him in court and being ordered to pay a hefty fine.
Evan Neil Wesche was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in compensation to his victim and fined $5000 in the Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, after the matter was referred to the Office of Fair Trading.
The court heard Wesche operated a cabin construction business on Woodlands Road in Gatton and traded under the name Creative Cabins.
In April 2019, a Lockyer Valley family engaged with Wesche, a 65-year-old cabinet maker, to construct a two-bedroom removable cabin.
Wesche sent an invoice for the job to his victim and asked for a 50 per cent deposit be paid into his account before work would commence.
The invoice included the company name Creative Cabins Pty Ltd, logo, description of goods and services and a phone number along with payment instructions for the money to go into Wesche's ANZ Access account.
The victim family paid Wesche $20,500 in two separate transactions on April 10 and 11, 2019, by direct deposit into Wesche's account, but no work ever started on the cabin, the court heard.
The victim was represented in court by lawyers from the Office of Fair Trading.
In their submissions the lawyer's said between April 2019 and October 2019, numerous attempts were made by the victim to secure a date for the completion and delivery.
Alternative completion dates were negotiated with Wesche in an attempt for the family to get their cabin delivered.
To date, no goods or services have been supplied by Wesche to the victim, and no refund paid, the victims lawyers said.
The Office of Fair Trading said Wesche was given numerous opportunities to respond to the victim's complaint, but the court heard Wesche did not co-operate with investigators at all.
"He also failed to provide any remedy to the affected consumer," the Office of Fair Trading said.
The court heard that on December 10, Wesche offered to pay the victim a partial payment of compensation of $2000.
The Office of Fair Trading said the victim declined the payment as they believed the offer was "too little too late" and an insult to them.
The Office of Fair Trading told the court it was reasonable to expect the works to be carried out in a timely and professional manner after the victim responded to Wesche's request for a deposit in good faith.
Wesche was represented in court by solicitor Nick Gillece who said his client was a respected member of the Lockyer Valley community and once operated his business with 15 full-time employees.
The court heard Wesche deregistered his company in July 2020, as the 65-year-old had reached retirement.
Mr Gillece said his client was "remorseful and embarrassed", however Magistrate Graham Lee rejected that claim and said it was hardly the case given Wesche had not co-operated with investigators and offered an "insulting" amount of compensation to his victim.
Magistrate Lee said it was a "complex exercise" sentencing Wesche for the offence, balancing his age with a fine that was "just and fair in the circumstances".
The maximum penalty for such case is a fine of $250,000.
Mr Lee ordered Wesche to pay his victim $20,500 in compensation.
Wesche was also fined $5000 referred to SPER.
He was also ordered to pay $103.60 in costs to the Office of Fair Trading.
The conviction was recorded.