A rogue carpet cleaner who forced his services on the elderly and left one woman too scared to sleep has been ordered by the Supreme Court to cease trading for five years.
David James Donald, 73, of Reservoir, has also been ordered to pay more than $17,000 in refunds, damages, penalties and costs.
Victoria’s consumer watchdog took action against Donald after receiving complaints from five victims between late 2015 and early 2016, including elderly couples in Altona and Kyneton.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) said Donald’s illegal sales tactics included demanding upfront cash payments and failing to provide his full name or give a 10-day cooling off period.
His victims included an 86-year-old Altona woman who said Donald claimed to have cleaned her carpets seven years previously and insisted they needed cleaning again.
He and his associate did not give their names or discuss how much the cleaning was going to cost, the court heard.
He used the same tactic with an 87-year-old Altona woman.
Another woman, 89, said Donald pressured her in to having her carpets cleaned and in to making him coffee and biscuits.
She said the carpet stayed wet for several days and still appeared to be dirty with new brown stains.
The court heard the woman was frightened by Donald and she did not believe she could get him to leave her home.
The court heard Donald also pressured his way into the home of a 74-year-old Kyneton man who suffers chronic lung disease and requires oxygen and assistance to move around, demanding $500 in cash for carpet cleaning.
CAV director Simon Cohen said a public warning had been issued against Donald last April after he defied Supreme Court orders to conduct his business lawfully.
“Donald’s aggressive tactics left vulnerable consumers in distress and often significantly out of pocket,” Mr Cohen said.
“Strict laws apply to door-to-door sales to ensure consumers are not forced to make costly decisions on the spot.”
Victorians with concerns about door-to-door salespeople can contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 558 181.