John and Sylvia Goodley did everything right when they decided to go ahead with renovations to their Illawong home.
They set aside money for unseen problems, employed an architect to project-manage the job and took out home warranty insurance (HWI) which cost an extra $6000. But when they went to make a claim, they found the HWI insurance certificate was a forgery.
Their builder, Stephen Ball of BSB Metro Pty Ltd forged the document, using a real insurance certificate from a former client.
They wanted to recoup the cost of completing the unfinished work the builder left behind when he went out of business, seven months after his building licence expired.
So they went to NSW Fair Trading who did a great job prosecuting Stephen Ball and his brother Bryan Ball, BSB's two directors.
Stephen Ball pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to a minimum of 8 months community service and when he appealed, he got 14 months instead.
Bryan Ball pleaded not guilty to the charge of completing unlicensed building work and said it was his brother's job to take care of the administrative side of the business, but the court imposed fines and costs of $7300.
Fair Trading Commissioner said "This verdict serves as a reminder to all directors - they have a duty to ensure the company's contractor licence remains current."
But Sydney builders go out of business all the time, some declare bankruptcy, others just close up shop and walk away and even with good references and reviews, you just never know.