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QLD Australian Consumer Law on Purchase of Worn Wedding Gown?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by mei lee, 11 January 2017.

  1. mei lee

    mei lee Active Member

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    I bought a wedding gown from a local bridal shop after trying it on twice on separate occasions. When I went in to pick it up, they took it off the rack and packed the gown in a nice bag. I questioned them if the gown was brand new and they assured me it was.

    I asked if it was the same gown I tried on a week ago - and they said, "yes, it was". But they insisted it was brand new.

    It was my first time buying a gown, so I took their word for it. Big mistake.

    The next morning as I was going to take photos of the gown for friends, I was confronted with loose threads and broken laces upon unzipping the bag. I thought maybe it was just a couple of them. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, there were broken laces throughout the gown - front and back, top to bottom.

    This gown was fluffing from the broken end of the nylon threads/strings forming the border of flower patterns on the lace. It is definitely showing signs of being handled multiple times, even 2 of the buttons were stained brown.

    I rang them immediately to express my concern and took it back. They still insisted it was not a display or sample gown, it was brand new and the condition the gown in was "to be expected" - their exact words.

    I know comparatively $1200 for a gown is considered cheap. That is the reason I bought non-designer gowns to avoid the big price tag - not french made fabric or lace, but would still be cosmetically presentable.

    They said they would fix it - and they did, by cutting off all the fluffed ends, so as you can imagine a supposedly flower-patterned lace with the nylon string as its border, is now left with 'broken petals'/fragmented. They insisted me to take it but I refused. Given the fact that I paid full-price for the gown, I trust I am entitled to a gown in a 'brand new' condition as promised, without defects (well I can accept maybe 1 or 2).

    I don't know what to do now. I tried resolving with them but the lady denied there is anything wrong with the laces, (when they clearly wrote on my receipt "fix lace and beadings') and called me a 'trouble maker' when I told her I have pictures to proof what I am saying.

    I feel deceived by them - providing a sample gown with defects when I was promised a brand new gown. Worst still is their constant denial without apology. What should I do under Australian Consumer Law now? What is the chance I have in getting my money back?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi mei lee,

    I feel for you. Being a bride is stressful enough as it is let alone encountering dress shop dragons.

    Under the Australian Consumer Law, suppliers of goods (including wedding dress shops) must guarantee that their products are:

    Of acceptable quality, that is:
    • safe, lasting, with no faults
    • look acceptable
    • do all the things someone would normally expect them to do.
    Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost.

    Products must also:
    • match descriptions made by the salesperson, on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising
    • match any demonstration model or sample you asked for
    • be fit for the purpose the business told you it would be fit for and for any purpose that you made known to the business before purchasing
    • come with full title and ownership
    • not carry any hidden debts or extra charges
    • come with undisturbed possession, so no one has a right to take the goods away or prevent you from using them
    • meet any extra promises made about performance, condition and quality, such as life time guarantees and money back offers
    • have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.
    If these requirements are not met, you have the right to either a repair or refund. While they have provided a repair, you may be able to argue that it was not a sufficient repair and request a refund.

    Usually refunds are only available in situations where there is a major failure - such as where you would not have purchased the product had you known about all the faults.

    Check out this further info: https://www.lawanswers.com.au/blog/consumer-rights-repairs-refunds-and-exchanges/

    You can make a consumer compliant here: Make a consumer complaint
     
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  3. mei lee

    mei lee Active Member

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    Thank you Sophea. I would like to call it a major fault.

    My argument is after giving them the opportunity they still unable to restore it to the expected, original factory condition, as one would expect from a brand new gown. I would not have bought it if the store had pointed it out and said it is a sample gown.

    I would have asked for a refund instead of repair when I return the dress initially, but the store lady convinced me that it is 'normal' and 'to be expected.'

    Sigh
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely push it. They are counting on you to give up and cave to them being difficult. Have you returned the dress to them? I would start by doing that and writing a letter of demand for a refund. Set out in the letter what your rights are under the Australian Consumer Law and demand that pursuant to those rights you want your full purchase price refunded within 7 days by electronic refund to the card with which you paid for the dress (or other method).

    You can also state that if they fail to provide a refund within that time you reserve your right to escalate the matter and pursue all legal avenues open to you to recover your money. You can also CC the letter to the Department of Fair Trading and the ACCC - and mark this on the letter so that they know that you have. It might stir them to action.
     
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  5. mei lee

    mei lee Active Member

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    Yes, the dress is with them. I never went back to pick it up, after the unpleasant experience with the confrontative store lady.

    I filed a credit card dispute for a chargeback but they are so hopeless. One customer service consultant for MasterCard insisted I get an independent valuation report from a bridal shop, has to be written on their company's letterhead, confirming a brand new bridal gown should not be in that condition. I mean, who would write that for you when you are not a customer.

    Also, it does not require a trained expert to tell there is broken nylon everywhere on my dress. Even my guy friends (supposedly has no knowledge about gowns), can tell the 'discontinuity of the borders', as they called it.

    I have just written a letter to the store owner. Hopefully, I will get a reply soon. I believe I am not the first and won't be the last person being taken advantage of (my lack of knowledge in this area). I hope this would be a lesson for them.
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    re: Chargeback. FYI the bank should not be allowing the chargeback. It is a genuine civil dispute so the bank should not be interfering. Chargebacks would generally only be allowed when there is some kind of misuse of the credit card and your situation doesn't fit into this. Your issue is with the shop, not the bank.
     
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  7. mei lee

    mei lee Active Member

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    Thank you Rod, but it makes it even more confusing now. According to Commonwealth Bank Mastercard Dispute website:

    "We may be able to help you by investigating:
    • Transactions you do not recognise
    • Transactions you did not authorise
    • Transactions that you may suspect are fraudulent
    • Goods and services which were not received
    • Transactions where the payment amount differs
    • Goods which are not as described
    • Duplicated transactions
    • Recurring debits which were cancelled
    • Goods which are defective
    • ATMs that have given you an incorrect amount of money
    • Arranging a chargeback for certain Debit MasterCard® transactions"

    When I called the dispute centre, they went through the checklist with me and filed the dispute because it meets their criteria for the above highlighted items. Are you suggesting that even though they spelled it out on their website and over the phone, there is a likelihood that they are not going to investigate it?

    Hmmm...
     
  8. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    The list you have is better than some of the other banks. I checked Commbanck website and you are correct.

    I didn't expect to see 'Goods which are not as described' and 'goods which are defective' in a list of allowed chargeback transactions.

    You might have half your battle won if they give you the chargeback.
     
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  9. mei lee

    mei lee Active Member

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    Although that's what they said, but it involves getting a 'valuation report from expert on their business letterhead' seems to be the biggest hurdle. I mean, which bridal shop will write that for me? Besides the dress is with them now so I'm not going back to take it to another store for inspection.

    It is so clear to even untrained eye that there are broken threads throughout. I wrote a letter to the shop and still awaiting reply.
     
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