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Dog breeder fails to supply puppies or refunds to consumers

12 July 2019

A Toowoomba dog breeder was ordered to pay $14,500 in fines and $1,750 in compensation in the Toowoomba Magistrates Courts today (12 July 2019) following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

Veronica Leigh Micallef, sole operator of Veraicon Kennels, pleaded guilty and was convicted of three counts of accepting payment and failing to supply goods under the Australian Consumer Law.

The court heard Ms Micallef accepted deposits from three consumers for the purchase of Australian Terrier puppies, which were represented as being due to be born between late July and early August 2017.

She later communicated to these buyers that the puppies did not survive due to an emergency C-Section and offered a refund or to place each consumer on the list for the next litter.

All affected consumers requested a refund but Ms Micallef failed to supply this.

In sentencing, Magistrate Maryanne May took into consideration the nature and seriousness of the charges as well as the defendant having no known history and her submission of an early guilty plea.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said there was often a significant emotional investment for a consumer buying a pet, as well as the financial cost.

“Consumers can contact the OFT for advice on their rights or make a complaint if they are unable to satisfactorily resolve a marketplace dispute,” Mr Turner said.

“If a trader insists on a large payment up-front for goods or services, consider investing elsewhere.”

Consumers can lodge a complaint with the OFT online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).