VIDEO: Aussie tradies hammering down on dodgy pay disputes in viral revenge clips

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
7 Min Read

More tradies are taking matters into their own hands, as an increasing number of shifty customers attempt to avoid paying outstanding bills once jobs are complete. 

You’ve put in the hard work, the quality is excellent, and the job is finally complete… there’s only one thing left outstanding – getting paid. 

It may sound simple, but for many Aussie tradies, the number of customers pulling dodgy tactics to avoid paying their final bill is higher than ever before. 

Renegotiations, dishonest quality complaints, or ghosting payment reminders are some ways clients are trying to knock a few bucks off the money they owe. 

But many Aussie tradies have had enough of the slimy strategies, taking matters into their own hands by giving clients an ultimatum to either pay up or risk having the work destroyed. 

Viral video latest example of tradies taking matters into their own hands:

The latest incident occurred last week in Clare, South Australia, where a pair of tradies were filmed destroying a client’s driveway after allegedly refusing to pay for the service.

South Australian tradies take revenge over unpaid invoices.

In a viral video posted to social media, Clare Concreting co-owners Damian Hallett and business partner Jamie Sommerville were seen ripping up their work at a customer’s driveway after he allegedly refused to pay the outstanding amount. 

The pair were filmed arguing with the homeowner, demanding immediate payment of the remaining $3500 for their driveway concreting services. 

“I don’t care. I’m pulling this out. At the end of the day, you owe me $3,500. I’m pulling this out; you’ve had your chances,” Mr Hallett said in the video. 

“You said you’re not going to pay me the money. If you’re going to pay me the money, I’ll stop, if not, I’m going to bulldoze now.” he continued.

The tradies proceeded to bulldoze and use power tools to destroy parts of the driveway while police watched on, telling the homeowner there was nothing they could do. 

Their bold efforts resulted in the customer immediately paying the remaining amount before further damage could be done. However, question marks remain whether the workers’ brazen actions will land them in hot water regarding civil lawsuits or trespass laws. 

The tradies later said that while they “don’t condone” similar actions, they are simply a pair of “hard-working Aussies” who had been pushed to their limits after a previous incident last year left them $14,000 out of pocket.

“We don’t condone this sort of stuff. We’ve never done it before,” Mr Sommerville said in a phone interview with

“We knew it was going to come to a situation.”

“The main reason it happened was he blatantly said to us he wasn’t going to pay.”

“There were no quality issues, he (the client) said there was a discrepancy in the invoices, and he wasn’t sure when the invoice was supposed to be paid.”

However, the homeowner has since denied doing “anything wrong” and says he is considering legal action after allegedly receiving racially abusive messages, a continual train of passing onlookers, as well as a now ruined driveway. 

  • Contracts are key: Ensure that all terms, conditions, and payment expectations are clearly outlined in a written contract before commencing any work. This includes project details, timelines, payment dates, and extra charges.
  • Provide invoices: Provide itemised invoices showing all the work completed, materials used, and associated costs. This helps to show the value provided and reduces the potential for misunderstandings.
    • Don’t delete communication: Keep records of all communication with the client, including emails, messages, and signed agreements – you may need it later as evidence.
  • Request payment in instalments: Consider requesting partial payments or deposits at specific points during the work rather than waiting until completion. This mitigates risk should a payment dispute arise. 
  • Quick communication: Address any payment disputes with the customer as soon as they arise, as communication can often resolve issues before they escalate.
  • Seek mediation: If attempts to resolve the dispute directly with the customer are unsuccessful, consider involving a neutral third party, such as a mediator, to facilitate a resolution.
  • Legal action: If all attempts to resolve the dispute fail, seek legal advice and consider taking legal action to recover the owed payment.
  • Learn and Adapt: Running your business is often learning on the go. After encountering a payment dispute, evaluate the situation and adjust practices to prevent similar issues in the future.

‘Tradie revenge’ on the rise

The incident is a recurring theme among the nation’s tradies, who seem sick and tired of being shortchanged by stingy clientele. 

Just last month, tiler Simon McPherson from Xclusive Tiling decided to destroy his handiwork at a Melbourne property after an invoice had remained unpaid for more than a year. 


The savvy subby says removing the roof tiling at the site was perfectly legal thanks to a clause he inserted in his contract stating that works remain his tiling company’s property until final payment is received.

A similar video went viral in January this year, which saw another pair of tradies smash up a driveway in Brisbane with pick axes after a homeowner refused to pay the remaining amount upon completion. 

The job was priced at $6000, but the homeowner only paid the $2500 deposit before allegedly refusing to fix up the rest.


“It comes to a point where you’re in the trade for a long time, and you’re doing the right thing by people, and they don’t want to pay at the end of the day, so what are you gonna do?” Logan concreter Jessie Crowe told 7News at the time.

Share This Article
Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.