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Fine is cast for Ipswich businesswoman for failing to provide keepsakes

An Ipswich businesswoman has been ordered to pay over $2,800 in fines and compensation after being prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to provide personalised keepsakes to consumers.

Chantelle Monica Smith, who operated Cast A Memory Ipswich, was found guilty of breaching the Australian Consumer Law after accepting payments for goods and services but failing to supply them.

The matter was heard in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on 13 July 2022. Ms Smith failed to attend court and was subsequently found guilty and fined $2,664 plus compensation and court costs. A conviction was not recorded.

The court heard that seven consumers ordered personalised frames containing keepsakes with feet or hand castings of their newborn babies from Ms Smith. The consumers paid between $180 to $700 each for these items.

Each consumer was advised that their works would be completed in several weeks and they handed precious keepsake items over to Ms Smith for her to begin the services.

When consumers chased up Ms Smith for their orders she would excuse the delays by advising that she was catching up on previous orders or was having issues with supplies due to COVID-19.

Several consumers were advised that their orders were nearly ready for collection but weeks passed without receiving them and when they attempted to make contact with Ms Smith they were unsuccessful.

None of the affected consumers received the goods from Ms Smith. After complaints were lodged with the OFT Ms Smith began providing refunds to most of the consumers however one consumer received no refund and was unable to recover the keepsakes given to Ms Smith.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said traders need to honour their commitments to consumers.

“The poor actions of this trader led to consumers losing not only money, but also precious keepsakes associated with the birth of their children,” Ms Thomson said.

“The OFT will continue to take up issues for consumers who do not receive what they have paid for.”

If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received they should raise the issue with the trader. If they are unable to resolve the issue with the business, they are encouraged to make a complaint to the OFT either online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading, or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).