Cobar business owner Alan Germon is already planning on ripping up the bitumen around his property.
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He's one of the many who have been hit by fraudsters and a warning is being issued so others across the country aren't also left with shoddy work and costly clean-ups.
The issue is being reported to authorities as overseas fraudsters pour into regional areas.
Dubbed the 'bitumen bandits', the travelling conmen approach homes or businesses and offer to resurface driveways at a price that seems 'too good to be true'.
From Western Australia's wheatbelt to far north Queensland and eastern Victoria, communities have been hit by the scam with some victims thousands of dollars out of pocket.
According to police, the scammers demand a deposit upfront and disappear or use watered down bitumen and charge thousands more than the initial quote, often employing stand-over tactics.
That's what happened to Airlie Beach resident Michelle Maguire when a ute pulled up to her property in mid-May.
"The guy in the car said to me we're tarring a road nearby and we've got heaps of leftover substance, enough to tar this driveway for you, and we're doing a cheap price at $30 a square metre" she said.
Ms Maguire agreed to the job but the tradespeople failed to show up the next day.
When they did arrive three days later, several men completed the job in a matter of hours.
"Then this guy turned up and he said to me I've got your invoice, this is how much you owe us. It was $21,450."
That was more than double the initial quote. After questioning the price, Ms Maguire and her husband received an onslaught of calls demanding immediate payment and eventually transferred $16,000.
"It was just a mess, it's unbelievable. He then refused all our calls, so we had no other choice. On Monday my partner went straight to the solicitor, who explained it was a scam," Ms Maguire said.
The Office of Fair Trading confirmed it had received reports of bitumen bandits this year.
Regional consumers and small businesses are being targeted in what appears to be a decades-old scam that originated in Ireland, police say.
Mackay Police crime prevention coordinator Nigel Dalton said people should be wary of tradespeople demanding same-day cash payments, who may speak in an Irish accent.
"The quote that they may give is almost certainly too good to be true. You think you're getting a really good deal but when the job is finished, firstly, the quality is really bad.
"But secondly, the cost will have skyrocketed, disproportionate to the amount of work being done," he said.
That was the experience of Germon, who is based in Cobar.
"We bought a house sort of just outside of Cobar about six months ago. And we were wanting to bitumen the area around the back for ages," he said.
"So this man comes by, I showed him the area that I wanted done and he quoted me six and a half thousand, that should pretty much cover it. I'm thinking no worries, even if it went to eight, it wouldn't be too bad.
"When they finished, he came over and he said that's about 600 square metres, and that will be $18,000. That's not what I was expecting. I said I don't think it's that big.
"He re-measured it and lowered it down a bit, and it came down to about $15,000," he said.
The gross overcharge raised the alarm for Mr Germon. The conmen herangued him for money claiming the whole amount needed to be paid at the conclusion of the job.
This move directly contravenes the required ten business day cooling off period for an unsolicited consumer agreement as mandated by Fair Trading NSW.
After consulting local Facebook groups warning of 'bitumen bandit' scams, Mr Germon realised he had been scammed.
Ultimately he refused to pay the people for their unsatisfactory work and they disappeared.
Now he is dealing with the mess left on his property.
"I don't know what it is they've put down, but it never actually sets.
"Where I turn my trailer around in it every day, you can see straight through to the dirt already. I really only wanted it for dust control, and it will probably last about a month, maybe two, and then I'll scrape it up with my tractor," he said.
Consumer Protection WA also confirmed it had received reports about fake tradespeople known as 'bitumen bandits' and had identified at least six different businesses operating in WA in the past couple of months.
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