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Retailer back pedals on agreement to supply e-bike

A Broadbeach Waters bicycle retailer has been taken to court by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to supply goods within a reasonable time under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Gregory Alexander Ritchie, who operated the business BSE – Bicycle Safety Equipment, was fined $5000 and ordered to pay $2075 compensation to a consumer and court fees. No conviction was recorded.

On 14 June 2021 the Southport Magistrates Court heard that in October 2019 Mr Ritchie agreed to supply an electronic bike to a consumer in Tasmania.

The consumer paid Mr Ritchie $2075 for the bike on 21 October 2019 and was advised at the time that once the payment had cleared, and the bike passed testing, to allow 5-7 days for it to arrive in Tasmania.

The bike did not arrive within the timeframe and the delivery date was changed numerous times over the next seven weeks. On 4 December 2019, the consumer asked the trader they had other electronic bikes available and Mr Ritchie advised there were not.

The consumer then asked Mr Ritchie to cancel the order and refund the money. Mr Ritchie informed the consumer that he would provide a refund, but he never did.

In sentencing Magistrate White said that blaming the non supply on Covid-19 was unreasonable given the amount of time that had passed.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said there was no excuse for a trader to ignore its obligations under the ACL.

“This consumer paid the full amount expecting to receive goods within a reasonable period of time and this did not occur,"  said Ms Thomson.

“Traders must not accept payment from a consumer if they know they can’t deliver the goods by the agreed date.”

The OFT encourages consumers who have purchased goods or services but have not received them to approach the trader for a refund in the first instance. If unsuccessful, they can lodge a complaint online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).