The company and its director Mark Dougal Rentoul are being investigated for allegedly charging companies to test asbestos samples but failing to have them tested.
The OFT began investigating after receiving a complaint from a regional Queensland council. It found that the company had been consistently invoicing clients for samples taken but not tested.
OFT’s Executive Director Brian Bauer said consumers and businesses are being warned to avoid dealing with Asbestos Audit and Mark Rentoul.
“Not only is Asbestos Audit making misleading representations about its services and accepting payment for services not delivered, but this behaviour is potentially putting peoples’ health at risk,” Mr Bauer said.
“The deceptive behaviour is unacceptable, especially when those responsible for engaging Asbestos Audit’s services have been of the genuine belief Mr Rentoul ran a company providing comprehensive testing services.”
Mr Bauer said anyone who has had dealings with Asbestos Audit or Mr Rentoul should contact the OFT immediately.
“It’s possible there are several victims who are unaware that they have been misled,” he said.
WorkSafe’s Executive director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said that if the allegations proved correct, the company’s behaviour was outrageous.
“Asbestos is a dangerous substance, which is why employers put their faith in companies such as this one to ensure appropriate testing is conducted,” Ms Williams said.
“Employers need to have confidence that testing procedures are carried out to ensure workplace health and safety is never compromised.”
Ms Williams said any business who had engaged Asbestos Audit should check whether the company had provided NATA-accredited analysis reports for all samples taken at their site as part of the report. If not, they should contact Asbestos Audit immediately.
“If such reports have not been, or cannot be, provided, they should organise for a competent person to re-take those samples and have them analysed by a NATA accredited laboratory,” she said.
Any Victorian business or consumer who have used the company and have concerns about its testing procedures should contact the Queensland OFT by calling 13 74 68 or make a complaint online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading
NB: Mark Dougal Rentoul and his company has no association with the Victorian-based company called Asbestos Audits (Australia) Pty Ltd or its directors.