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Stressful ‘I do’s’, as business fails to supply wedding dresses

16 January 2018

The owner of a Brisbane bridal boutique has been fined $14,000 by the Beenleigh Magistrates Court today (16 January 2018), following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

Sharon Lucille Bennett, owner of Serenity Bridal Boutique, pleaded guilty on four counts of failing to supply wedding and bridesmaid dresses within a specified timeframe. Ms Bennett was fined $14,000 and ordered to pay $1850 in refunds and restitution to four affected consumers.

The court heard, between February and August 2016, Ms Bennett accepted a total of $3,112.25 from four affected consumers, intended for deposits on both wedding and bridesmaid dresses. The affected consumers were provided with expected delivery dates, however when these weren’t met, they sent Ms Bennett multiple emails asking her where the dresses were.

Despite numerous attempts to contact Ms Bennett and have the issues sorted, the affected consumers were either ignored or told their orders were coming. In the end, Ms Bennett failed to meet any of the delivery dates or provide refunds, leaving affected consumers without their dresses and out of pocket. Two affected consumers were able to get a chargeback from their financial institution.

In sentencing, the court considered the significant stress and financial detriment Ms Bennett placed on the consumers.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer welcomed the decision by the court and was pleased the consumers would recover their money.

“Businesses must always honour their commitments to customers or provide a remedy, such as a refund, if they can’t,” Mr Bauer said.

“A wedding is supposed to be a happy time, and consumers don’t need added stress from traders who don’t abide by their commitments.”

Consumers can make a complaint about a trader and find information on their consumer rights at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).