Dance and music teacher fined for no refunds (Daniella Ienco / Bella Danza Studio)
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A private dance and music teacher who taught children in Como has been fined a total of $3,500 by the Perth Magistrates Court for accepting payment for services and then failing to provide those services after classes were cancelled or re-scheduled.
Daniella Nazzarena Patricia Ienco, trading as Bella Danza Studio, had accepted full tuition fees from the parents of seven children between April and November 2012, but had either cancelled or failed to turn up for many of the scheduled lessons. No refunds were given.
The business had a trademark licence agreement with Kindermusic Inc. which allowed Ms Ienco to train students using Kindermusic’s methods and materials. This licence agreement was cancelled in July 2012 due to unpaid fees. An agreement to hire a local church hall was cancelled in October 2012 also due to unpaid fees. Many of the private piano classes were held at the student’s home.
The parents had paid upfront between $205 and $300 for a series of classes and failed to receive a refund when requested for the classes which were either cancelled or had failed to go ahead.
On 12 December 2014 Ms Ienco was fined $500 on each of the seven charges under the Australian Consumer Law and ordered to pay costs of $881. All consumers have now received refunds for the classes which were not held.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said traders should not accept payment or deposits for work when there is a chance it may not be carried out.
“No matter what financial situation a trader may be in, it is unacceptable for them to take payments or deposits from consumers when they know there is little chance of the services being delivered according to the agreement,” Ms Driscoll said.
“If the services are not carried out as agreed, or within the agreed timeframe, the consumer has every right to cancel the contract and receive a refund.”
Further information on consumers’ rights and traders’ obligations under the Australian Consumer Law can be found on the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumerprotection. Enquiries can be made by email: email@example.com or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
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