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Another Italian traveller selling fake designer jackets

Issue Date: Monday, 7 April 2008

Consumer Protection officers along with the Australian Customs Service is seeking an Italian person of interest known as ‘Salvatore S’ who is allegedly flogging fake designer jackets, very similar to previous rorts uncovered in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“This person is said to be representing himself as a Manager of Emporio Armani and claims to be having difficulty finding Perth Airport,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll said.

“When conversation was established with one hapless good Samaritan at a Merriwa petrol station last week, Salvatore claimed to have designer leather jackets worth $1,300 each and for his kindness would sell him three for just $500 in total.

“Like previous designer jacket scams, these garments are most likely made in China, not Italy as represented, and are very poorly made of cheap materials such as vinyl . The usual ‘place of origin’ and ‘care and content’ labels are also missing from these garments.

“In 2006 an Italian National was apprehended at Perth Airport and prevented from taking $60,000 cash out of the country from funds he obtained by selling fake designer jackets. $56,700 of this money was subsequently seized and used as refunds for 60 victims who were stung by the con man,” Commissioner Driscoll said.

These so-called designer clothing salesmen are usually well dressed and of Italian appearance, all having some story about needing directions or having attended trade shows and having excess stock.

“People report getting approached by these swindlers at petrol stations, in shopping centre car parks and even while they are stopped at traffic lights,” Ms Driscoll said.

“Consumers should always be highly sceptical of any unsolicited offer, especially those that are ‘urgent’ and require payment in cash. The Door-to-Door Trading Act provides consumers protection against pressure sales and these sellers risk fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies, if they mislead consumers,” she said.

Consumer Protection is working with the Australian Customs Service and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Anyone with any information about Salvatore’s whereabouts should telephone 1300 30 40 54 or email consumer@docep.wa.gov.au .