Blush Bras and Lingerie’s Twitter posts.
Blush Bras and Lingerie’s Twitter posts.

Queensland seller fined over online lingerie rip-off

A COOMERA online retailer has been fined $8000 and ordered to pay more than $1600 in compensation in the Southport Magistrates Court.

Marcel Ivan Shears, sole operator of two online underwear and lingerie retail stores advertising as Isabella's Passion and Blush Bras and Lingerie, was found guilty of three counts of failing to supply goods and four counts of making false or misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law.

The Isabella’s Passion lingerie website
The Isabella’s Passion lingerie website

The court heard that when operating the online store Isabella's Passion between October 7, 2017 and February 17, 2018, Mr Shears accepted payment for goods from two consumers totalling $469.

Mr Shears' online store stated that orders placed before 3pm each business day would be sent out that day and delivered to the customer the next business day using the Express Post network, or, within two to five business days for regional areas.

He failed to provide the goods by the specified time and did not offer a refund to consumers. The terms and conditions of Mr Shears' online store stated it was not possible for customers to get a refund.

The Office of Fair Trade, prosecuting the matter said misrepresentations were also made about the cost of shipping.

The terms and conditions also stated purchases over $49, $50 or $100 would include free shipping.

However, consumers were required to pay an extra $5 delivery fee upon checkout.

The court fined Mr Shears $6500 and also ordered he pay $1643 in compensation to customers of Isabella's Passion involved in the matter, and to other affected consumers.

In relation to Blush Bras and Lingerie, the court heard on August 15, 2018, Mr Shears accepted payment from a consumer totalling $303.

Blush Bras and Lingerie
Blush Bras and Lingerie

Mr Shears failed to supply a range of maternity wear goods to the customer.

The Office of Fair Trade said he failed to refund the consumer.

The customer was able to obtain a charge back after lodging a dispute with their bank.

Mr Shears was fined a further $1500 for his business practices at the online store Blush Bras and Lingerie.

Shears was disqualified from managing corporations for five years in 2004 over his boat building companies Cabriolet Royale and Ozeshop. Late media magnate Kerry Packer was among Cabriolet Royale's speedboat customers.

In 2007 Shears was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and immediately released upon entering a five-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to five charges of insolvent trading laid by ASIC.

He was re-sentenced for those charges the following year after he failed to complete 200 hours of court-imposed community service and ordered to serve six weeks' jail.

In sentencing, Magistrate Kerrie O'Callaghan said she was satisfied Mr Shears had breached the law by enticing unsuspecting consumers to purchase goods which were not delivered.

She said a general deterrence was required to protect consumers from this type of behaviour.

Fair Trading acting executive director Craig Turner said the law required traders to be truthful, and to supply goods and services as promised when dealing with consumers.

Fair Trading acting executive director Craig Turner.
Fair Trading acting executive director Craig Turner.

"Whether you operate online, or in a 'bricks and mortar store', when goods are ordered and paid for, they must be delivered within the stated time," Mr Turner said.

"The Office of Fair Trade will continue to take enforcement action against any trader who flouts the law by misleading consumers and does not supply goods a consumer has paid for."

Consumers who don't get their goods can lodge complaints to the Office of Fair Trade at qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 74 68.


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