Fair Trading rains on Tropicover over umbrella drought

A Gold Coast retailer has been ordered to pay $10,500 after charges were laid by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to provide umbrella canopies ordered by consumers.

Keren Iluz-Cohen, sole operator of Tropicover Umbrellas, pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to supply goods and services under the Australian Consumer Law.

Ms Illuz-Cohen was fined $5000 and ordered to pay $5500 in compensation to the affected consumers.

The court heard that Ms Cohen who operated in Rocklea and later, in Surfers Paradise, sold umbrella canopies to four consumers between October 2021 and April 2022, totalling $6200.

Consumers who had placed orders with Tropicover Umbrellas were advised that their orders were being dispatched but never arrived.  In one instance, Ms Illuz-Cohen stated that an order had been delivered and provided an Australia Post tracking number, however the item was never received by the consumer.  It was established that the tracking number provided was for a previous customer.

When the consumers contacted Ms Iluz-Cohen to ask why they had not received their orders, they received either no response or assurances that they would be receiving their items.

The consumers then requested a refund, but again, failed to receive a response or were provided with empty promises of a refund.

Only one consumer was successful in receiving a refund of $700 in September 2022.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said the outcome was a strong reminder to businesses of their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly, as required by the ACL.

“Consumers are encouraged to raise these issues with the trader as soon as possible and, if the matter remains unresolved, seek assistance from the OFT,” Ms Thomson said.

Consumers can lodge a complaint about issues of non-supply to the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for advice.