Fake electrician on Airtasker fined $100K
A $100,000 fine has been issued to a man who fraudulently posed as an electrician on the Airtasker online marketplace.
According to the Electrical Safety Office (ESO), Amilcar Appel presented himself as a qualified electrician on the site and advertised electrical services to households in the greater Brisbane area between November 2015 and June 2017. However, he had never held an electrical contractor licence or any qualifications to perform electrical work.
A complaint about Appel’s work was made to the ESO, after a licensed electrician found substantially defective work in a home which Appel had been paid to complete through Airtasker.
An ESO investigation established that Appel had conducted similar unlicensed and non-compliant electrical work at a further eight addresses through Airtasker.
Appel, who failed to make an appearance in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, was convicted and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for 13 offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002:
- Four section 40C (category 2) offences concerning particularly dangerous electrical work performed by the defendant which exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury.
- Eight section 55(1) offences relating to the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical work licence.
- One section 56(1) offence relating to conducting a business or undertaking including the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical contractor licence.
While issuing the hefty fine, Magistrate Belinda Merrin noted that, while no-one was killed or injured, the potential consequences were significant. She also noted Appel had not cooperated with the investigation and there was no indication he felt remorse for his actions.
The ESO has notified electrical contractors that it is promoting to the community the importance of checking their electrical contractor is licensed and advising consumers to check the ESO’s public licence register. Electrical contractors can help consumers and promote confidence by visibly displaying their licence number.
The ESO has also said it is encouraging pre-purchase electrical inspections to assist buyers to identify if a property is safe and complies with all electrical legislation. It is promoting these inspections to assist buyers in avoiding costly and unsafe issues; to act as a deterrent to dangerous and illegal DIY work; and to encourage home owners to commit to better maintenance practices.
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