$100,000 fine for Airtasker fake electrician

In BICSI Bytes, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

A man who posed as an electrician on the online marketplace Airtasker – but was not qualified – was recently fined AU$100,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after being investigated by Electrical Safety Office (ESO).

The man posed as a qualified electrician and advertised electrical services on Airtasker in Brisbane between November 2015 and June 2017. However, he had never held an electrical contractor licence or any qualifications to perform electrical work.

The ESO received a complaint about his work after a licensed electrician found substantially defective work in a home which the individual had been paid to complete through Airtasker.

An ESO investigation established that he had conducted similar unlicensed and non-compliant electrical work at another eight addresses through Airtasker.

The man was convicted and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for thirteen 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; and
  • 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.

In issuing the hefty fine, Magistrate Belinda Merrin noted that, while no-one was killed or injured, the potential consequences were significant. She also noted the man had not cooperated with the investigation and there was no indication he felt remorse for his actions.

Head of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office, Victoria Thomson added that the sentencing served as an important reminder to everyone to check their electrical contractor is licensed: “Faulty wiring or unlicensed electrical work can cost you thousands of dollars to fix up and in some cases, void your home insurance. Worse still, it can put you and your family in serious danger of electric shock or a house fire.”

Although this is an electrical incident, it sends a strong message that unlicensed work of any sort, including that advertised on Airtasker, will not be tolerated by regulators.

BICSI, along wioth all the cabling registrars, have discussed the issue of unlicensed cabling work being performed by Airtasker-listed  people with the ACMA, who have advised they are addressing the potential performance of illegal cabling work carried by unregistered individuals advertising such services on Airtasker.