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A woman who sold arts and crafts products on Facebook but failed to deliver has been ordered to pay a total of $20,233 in fines, consumer compensation and court costs by the Perth Magistrates Court.
Kim Russell of Mariginiup, trading as Scrappy Kapers, was sentenced on 24 January 2020 for accepting payments from five consumers but failing to supply the products either within a reasonable time, or at all, which is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
She was fined $2,000 on each of the five charges and ordered to pay legal costs of $7,500. Compensation orders totalling $2,733 were issued for Ms Russell to refund the five consumers who are owed money, with individual amounts ranging from $230 to $1,371.
Scrappy Kaper’s Facebook page offered to supply various arts and crafts products and interested customers would communicate with Ms Russell via Facebook Messenger about where invoices were to be sent. Deposits were paid by direct bank transfer but most consumers did not receive the goods they had ordered, with only one of the five receiving a small number of items. Requests for refunds were ignored.
When customers complained to Ms Russell, she gave a range of excuses such as orders haven’t arrived from suppliers, she was overseas on holiday or she was having issues with a new electronic system that the business had recently installed. The business is no longer operating and the Facebook page has been shut down.
Magistrate Flynn said Ms Russell accepted money for goods that she had no reasonable prospects of delivering and had undermined trust in the system of internet shopping, the benefit of which many consumers enjoy.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said consumers should be cautious when purchasing any items online or via social media.
“Only deal with sites and pages that have a proven track record and search for reviews and comments from previous customers that might sound alarm bells,” Ms Chopping said.
“Be cautious about direct bank transfers when paying for goods online. We recommend using a credit card or PayPal as there is a chance to get your money back if the goods don’t arrive.”
Information about online shopping and the Australian Consumer Law is available on the Consumer Protection website www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au. Enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com