'Supremely weird': Woman ripped off at markets
CASINO woman Kelly-ann Oosterbeek has a message for shoppers after being scammed by a market stallholder.
"If you feel like anything is slightly off with any purchase you are making, walk away," she warned.
She recently bought a powdered anti-inflammatory product at the Jacaranda Festival Markets in Grafton, and paid the $80 by Eftpos.
Mrs Oosterbeek was then told the item would be posted to her.
The "supremely weird" transaction process made Mrs Oosterbeek feel nervous.
She was concerned enough to take photos of the stall, and she asked to see the stallholder's business credentials. She also took photos of the registration, ABN and insurance, and got a signed receipt saying the product would be posted.
"I was standing there with my hubby, four of my six kids and my daughter's partner - I had so many witnesses," Mrs Oosterbeek said.
But the product never came.
"I want to warn people of the Northern Rivers because the lady told me she was heading north with her market stall," Mrs Oosterbeek said.
"I had a shoulder injury which I was trying to treat, I really wanted the product and hoped it would come."
Trying to give the stallholder the benefit of the doubt, Mrs Oosterbeek waited a few days before contacting her to make sure the product had been posted, but she claimed Mrs Oosterbeek had been given it on the day.
"They wouldn't budge with their claims, saying I was trying to rip them off and eventually saying my husband had taken the product and not told me," she said.
"I wasn't too worried - I'd done everything right as a consumer and I felt really covered - so I took the case to Fair Trading.
"Even with all of my evidence, witness statements, and a signed receipt promising postage of the item there was nothing they could do."
She said she was "stunned" by the response from NSW Fair Trading.
"It became a my word against hers, which shouldn't be, because I had a hand written signed receipt from her saying she will post a product," she said.
"What sort of protection do consumers have if we have all of this evidence, witnesses and a signed receipt, (but it) means nothing?"
She said the woman could be described as a short, Caucasian older lady with short brown hair, who was friendly and from Urunga.
The stallholder was selling anti-inflammatory products - powder in a 375ml tub or a 1kg tub.
Mrs Oosterbeek said she didn't want to name and shame the woman's business or the independent company involved.
"I'm not sure if the woman is a scammer or just a truly bad businesswoman," she said.
"Either way defaming her will also cast aspersions on the products she sells which is from an independent company and I have no desire to destroy businesses.
"I am keen to make people aware that they should be very cautious as once a mistake is made, no matter how careful they think they have been with documents etc, without paid legal aid, they haven't a leg to stand on. I want people to realise how little rights we have as consumers, because I thought we had more."
A NSW Fair Trading spokeswoman said when Fair Trading receives a complaint, contact is made with each party to seek a mutual resolution.
"Fair Trading remains impartial and cannot order or direct either party to resolve the complaint as only a court or tribunal can do this," the spokeswoman said.
"If a complaint is complex or the parties do not reach an agreed outcome, Fair Trading will provide options that may assist the parties in reaching a resolution. This can include tribunals or independent legal advice."
Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), most products purchased in Australia (from January 1, 2011) come with automatic guarantees and goods must:
Consumers by law have the right to request a repair, replacement, refund or compensation for damages and loss if a business fails to deliver any automatic guarantees on purchased goods in Australia.
- Be of acceptable quality
- Be fit for the purpose and give the results that you and the business had agreed to
- Match the description
- Be delivered within a reasonable time when there is no agreed end date.
To make informed choices before making purchases, consumers are encouraged to search the business on the ASIC public register website or online for consumer reviews.