Beware Of The End Of Lease Cleaning Scam Hitting Up Time-Poor Renters

We got scammed so you don't have to!

So, you’re at the end of your lease. You have days to move out, and among all the other stresses of moving there’s the need to clean the place for the final inspection. And for a bunch of reasons – work, moving, not wanting to pay simultaneous leases, whatever – you figure that you’ll get cleaners in to do the job in the dying days of your tenancy.

So you Google “end of lease cleaners”, find someone, tell them how many rooms and so on, get a quote, say yes, and arrange payment. And then they turn up and there’s a problem.


Oh, you didn’t say how big the place is. You didn’t mention that the ceilings were all the way up there. You didn’t say that people had been pooping in the toilet for *years*. Something. Anyway, they underquoted and it’s going to take much longer, so now it’s going to cost you more.

With few other options – after all, you have to hand the keys in tomorrow! You have to go get the mail redirected! – you just fume and pay up, rendering you further out of pocket at a time when, since you’re a renter, you’re probably pretty financially stretched in any case.

If this sounds familiar, you’re far from alone.

In fact, when a friend mentioned on Facebook that this happened to them, I was only one of many people who replied with variations on “…the HELL? That’s exactly what happened to me!”

It turns out that this is a super-common trick. As is, as I inadvertently found out, not realising that this is a scam and responding with “um, sorry, that was the quote and I don’t have any more cash right now” and then getting a phonecall saying that there’d been an “accident” and the cleaners would be back tomorrow, then disappearing forever.

And one the one hand: great work, dodgy cleaners. You’ve identified a vulnerable cohort of people ripe for extortion and come up with a scam which combines plausible deniability with a wonderfully low risk of being caught out.

One pro-tip from a renter who’d been burned was to contact the agent or landlord for a recommendation. Most have cleaners they use on the regular, and who are therefore very motivated not to lose that relationship by ripping off a tenant.

So what do you do if you’ve been stung? We asked NSW Fair Trading and they had some advice.

“NSW Fair Trading advises customers who are dissatisfied with services provided by a cleaning company to contact the trader and try to resolve the matter in the first instance,” a spokesperson told us.

“To make better informed choices on services provided by businesses, Fair Trading encourages consumers to search a business on the ASIC public register or other online reviews.”

And if you’ve been done already?

“Customers who are unable to resolve their issues with the trader are advised to lodge a written complaint on the Fair Trading website.”

So put that complaint in writing, friends, so that others might be alerted – and be canny about your cleaning choices.

Because you don’t want to steam clean that filthy carpet yourself, right? Just look at it. LOOK AT IT.

Seriously I don’t even feel comfortable walking on the thing.

Maybe Don't Leave Your Crypto Fund With One Person Who Might Take The Password To The Grave

That is, assuming that it's not all a captivating techno-thriller!

In what seems weird like one of those fairy tale quests where a secret treasure hoard is lost and/or guarded by wizards who ask questions each more fiendish than the last, there is a vault of $US262 million where the only password is held by a person who has rather inconveniently left this mortal realm.

And thus the owners of said vault, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, have said soz to the people whose money is locked within, adding that it’s impossible to access.

The passkey for the vault was reportedly held by the fund’s owner, Gerard Cotton, who died suddenly “due to complications with Crohn’s disease on December 9, 2018 while travelling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need.”

His widow Jennifer Robinson has told a Nova Scotia court that she can’t access the vault and that the money in “cold storage” is therefore lost forever, or at least until a sorcerer shows up.

Probably this guy.

If that all sounds a little bit like a thriller plot where a beleaguered CEO fakes their disappearance in order to quietly access a huge money pile, then you’re not alone.

For one thing, it’s very, very odd that a fund would not have multiple signatories. That seems like a basic don’t-lose-all-the-money strategy, surely? For all the criticisms levelled in the Banking Royal Commission report, no-one suggested that Ron Commonwealth was the only person that knew his bank’s log in.

The fact that the fund has assets frozen after being investigated for suspicious transfers last year helps bolster this impression, with CNN reporting evidence that wallets associated with QuadrigaCX have apparently been “on the move” since the announcement.

Like this.

That said, Robinson has provided a death certificate which suggests that the bit about Cotton is correct… maybe?

In any case: if it does turn out to be an elaborate exit scam then they’ll make plenty back on selling the inevitable film rights.

Get Ready For An Exciting Future Of Poo-Bricks, Australia

Insert your own "sh*tting bricks" joke here.

One the one hand, we’re living at a time of ecological crisis when we need to be extracting all the value we can out of everything and reducing our energy footprint wherever we can.

And thus the news that a waste product could be repurposed to create high quality construction bricks out of a seemingly endless resource would appear to be welcome news indeed.

On the other, they’re made using poo and that’s a hard sell.

So… wait, is this research where that expression comes from?

Technically it’s the drained, treated and dried by product of sewerage, given the innocuous name of “biowaste”, but RMIT researchers have been trying out different mixes and hit upon an ideal recipe for high quality bricks.

The bricks are better insulators than usual clay bricks and take less energy to fire, while being as strong as conventional bricks.

They also could potentially use up the 30 per cent of our biowaste that doesn’t get used for things like fertiliser.

…and this guy.

The biowaste is only part of what goes into the bricks, by the way, so it’s not like the house will smell like you’re sealed in a poo-vault during a heatwave. We hope.

Now, this is just a pilot study and more research is necessary before poo-bricks become industry standard, but just imagine: a few times every day you could be a small but integral part of Australia’s construction boom!


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