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OFT turns the table on furniture restorer

14  September 2021

A Southport businesswoman has been fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $768 in compensation after being prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to provide furniture restoration services and not delivering art workshops.

Candice Lee Blackburn, who operates Ida Lee Furniture and Workshop Art Gallery from Myall Street Shopping Centre, was found guilty of breaching the Australian Consumer Law by failing to supply goods and services within a reasonable time.

The matter was heard at Southport Magistrate Court on 13 September 2021. Ms Blackburn did not attend court and was fined $1,500 plus compensation and court costs. A conviction was not recorded.

The court heard that one consumer paid for two tickets to attend Ms Blackburn’s resin art workshop in Tweed Heads. Ms Blackburn rescheduled the first workshop to another date and location, then failed to show up after customers had travelled from New South Wales to Southport, to attend the workshop. The consumer made contact on several occasions to request a refund which was promised but never received.

Another consumer located Ms Blackburn through social media after she advertised the restoration and sale of furniture. The consumer paid $570 to have six chairs restored and delivered. Again, Ms Blackburn failed to supply any of the goods or services and did not provide a refund.

Ms Blackburn blocked both consumers on social media and cut all communication. She did not respond to OFT investigations into the matter.

Magistrate Louisa Pink said that deterrence was required to protect consumers from this type of behaviour.

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

“Consumers are entitled to request a refund for unsupplied goods or services and if the matter remains unresolved, seek assistance from the OFT,” 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).