Driveway crew may have moved

The Canadian door-to-door driveway repair crew who left West Otago after a series of complaints on Monday appears to have been touting for business in North Otago on Tuesday.

Complaints against the Canadians include working in New Zealand on a visitor visa, poor quality work, verbal-only contracts, operating under the name of an unregistered company and unethical sales techniques.

Palmerston resident Bob Murphy said he did not take the name of the man who showed up at his house offering to work on his driveway but he was certain the man was one of those described in the Otago Daily Times article yesterday, as the vehicle also matched.

A white Toyota Hilux appeared in his driveway on Tuesday morning and he was given an offer he described as ''too good to be true''. He told the men he was not interested.

''They were going to do it there and then,'' Mr Murphy said.

''He said, `Me and my two boys are in the area, we've got all our gear here, we're all ready just to do driveways'.''

In Tapanui on Monday, George Williamson Stewart (52) and his sons, George Thomas Stewart (29) and Patrick Swales Stewart (20), presented themselves as P+R General Contracting, an unregistered company. Tapanui residents were asked to make out cheques to a personal account.

The contractors were negotiating only verbal contracts. Under the Fair Trading Act, consumer protection laws state door-to-door sales agreements must be in writing.

Immigration New Zealand said Mr Stewart held a valid visitor visa and the department would be ''looking into the matter and considering its options''.

The Otago Daily Times understands a complaint has been made to Inland Revenue.

The IRD would not comment on individual complaints but a spokeswoman said all reports received through its anonymous tip-off online service were checked, and IRD would investigate any tips that appeared valid.

''People playing in that hidden economy space, not paying their taxes and getting away with it - there's always going to be a money trail,'' she said.

Linda Wheeler, of Mosgiel, said yesterday

her driveway was resealed by three men about two weeks ago. However, she avoided paying them any money when her daughter-in-law recognised them from an episode of Fair Go, and called police.

The men left without the $7000 they had charged.

''It was a close call all right,'' she said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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