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A bikini business ended up in deep water and was fined $30,000 after Consumer Protection prosecuted the online swimwear seller for misleading customers about refund and returns rights.
Frankii Swim Pty Ltd must also pay costs of $546.30 after a sentencing hearing at the Perth Magistrates Court on 17 May 2019, for three breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.
The charges for false and misleading representations were laid after Consumer Protection uncovered illegal wording in an ‘exchange policy’ section of www.australia-frankieswimwear.com in July 2018. The website name later changed to www.australia-frankiiswim.com.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping says the $30,000 penalty should send a strong warning to other businesses that misrepresentations attempting to restrict consumers refund and returns rights are unacceptable.
“The website stated Frankii Swim did not offer refunds. But blanket ‘no refund’ policies, implying it’s not possible to get your money back in any circumstances, are unlawful. In the event of a fault, consumers are always entitled to a remedy.
“Frankii Swim also stated that consumers only had 30 days to return faulty swimwear, from the date of purchase. However, under the Australian Consumer Law we all have the right to return a faulty product within a reasonable amount of time,” Ms Chopping added.
“Additionally, the site said customers would have to pay postage costs for returns, when in fact a seller must pay for goods to be sent back to them, on top of the replacement cost, if there’s a major failure with a purchase.”
Frankii Swim’s Director said she had written the policy herself and didn’t intend to mislead consumers but the Commissioner says being ignorant of the law is no excuse.
“All consumers in Australia have free, automatic guarantees – goods must be fit for purpose, safe, of acceptable quality and as described, or the same as what’s shown. In the event of a fault a customer has the right to ask for a refund, replacement of repair depending on whether the problem is major or minor.
“Businesses have a responsibility to brush up on their obligations. Agencies such as Consumer Protection, the Small Business Development Corporation and the ACCC offer a range of readily available resources to help businesses understand their responsibilities and comply with the law.”
For more information on the protections provided by ‘consumer guarantees’ under the Australian Consumer Law, download Consumer Protection’s iShopWA app or head to www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au.
Media Contact: Alina Cavanagh, (08) 6552 9471 / 0423 846 397 email@example.com
July 2020: Please note the iShopWA app is no longer supported. Consumer Protection recommends the ACCC Shopper app, which offers similar functionality and is available in both the App Store and Google Play.