Ninety two year old Charles Tompson in his unfinished bathroom which was subject to dodgy workmanship and overcharging. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News
Ninety two year old Charles Tompson in his unfinished bathroom which was subject to dodgy workmanship and overcharging. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News Nolan Verheij-Full

Shonky worker targets elderly

THE mess left by a rip-off workman in an elderly veteran's ensuite bathroom has so incensed a Tweed tradesman that he has pledged to tear it out and do the job properly - with the help of legitimate local tradespeople.

Point Danger plumber and builder Mal Wheeler, owner of Rubber Ducky Bathrooms, is looking for genuine tradespeople in the Tweed to help him put things right at the Varsity Lakes home of Charles Tompson, a Second World War veteran, four-time nominee for Australian of the Year, Walkley Award winner and Archibald art prize finalist.

The 93-year-old artist and his wife, Lois, 86, were left $8000 worse off after a maintenance worker told them he was licensed and competent to do the work.

The man, who the couple's daughter Catherine described as "really manipulative", installed a shower screen and vanity before tiling or waterproofing had been finished. He also charged them for hours not worked.

When Catherine challenged him, he became aggressive.

She then called two bathroom renovation companies, including Mr Wheeler's, and they both advised her father to get rid of the man.

Mr Wheeler said he was appalled by what had happened.

"Mr Tompson put his life on the line for this country and it's disgusting that he should be treated like this," he said.

He is calling for trades-people to volunteer their time to help him do the job the Tompsons deserve.

"We'll need a tiler, a plasterer, a plumber, an electrician and a labourer, as well as materials," he said.

While the situation the Tompsons found themselves in was "disgraceful", it highlights a problem on the Tweed and Gold coasts, Mr Wheeler said.

"There is a proportion of dodgy tradies here, many unlicensed, undercutting legitimate people on price and doing a poor job.

"Genuine tradesmen can't compete on price and vulnerable customers are being ripped off.

"The authorities should be targeting these guys and getting rid of them."



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