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Online lingerie seller fails to deliver

11 June 2019

A Coomera online retailer was fined $8,000 and ordered to pay more than $1,600 in compensation in the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday (11 June 2019) after being found guilty of charges laid by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Marcel Ivan Shears, sole operator of two online underwear and lingerie retail stores advertising as Isabella’s Passion and Blush Bras and Lingerie, was found guilty of three counts of failing to supply goods and four counts of making false or misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The court heard that when operating the online store Isabella’s Passion between 7 October 2017 and 17 February 2018, Mr Shears accepted payment for goods from two consumers totalling $469.

Mr Shears’ online store stated that orders placed before 3pm each business day would be sent out that day and delivered to the customer the next business day using the Express Post network, or, within two to five business days for regional areas.

Mr Shears failed to provide the goods by the specified time and did not offer a refund to consumers.

The terms and conditions of Mr Shears’ online store stated it was not possible for customers to get a refund, which is contrary to the ACL.

Misrepresentations were also made about the cost of shipping. The terms and conditions also stated purchases over $49, $50 or $100 would include free shipping. However, consumers were required to pay an additional $5 delivery fee upon checkout.

The court fined Mr Shears $6,500 and also ordered that he pay $1,643 in compensation to customers of Isabella’s Passion involved in the OFT’s prosecution and to other affected consumers.

In relation to Blush Bras and Lingerie, the court heard on 15 August 2018, Mr Shears accepted payment from a consumer totalling $303. Mr Shears failed to supply a range of maternity wear goods to the customer. He failed to refund the consumer, however, the consumer was able to obtain a charge back after lodging a dispute with their bank.

Mr Shears was fined a further $1,500 for his business practices at the online store Blush Bras and Lingerie.

In sentencing, Magistrate Kerrie O’Callaghan said she was satisfied Mr Shears had breached the ACL by enticing unsuspecting consumers to purchase goods which were not delivered.

She stated a general deterrence was required to protect consumers from this type of behaviour.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said the law required traders to be truthful, and to supply goods and services as promised when dealing with consumers.

“Whether you operate online, or in a ‘bricks and mortar store’, when goods are ordered and paid for they must be delivered within the stated time,” Mr Turner said.

“The OFT will continue to take enforcement action against any trader who flouts the ACL by misleading consumers and does not supply goods a consumer has paid for.”

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.