A bikini retailer is considering launching an appeal after it was slapped with penalties worth over $30,000 by a court, which ruled it had breached Australian Consumer Law in regard to its refunds policy.
WA’s Consumer Protection authority said in a statement that Frankii Swim Pty Ltd was found to have misled customers by stating on its website that it did not give refunds and that returns of faulty products must be done within 30 days of purchase.
“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,” Consumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping said.
“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.
“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.”
The agency said that it had discovered “illegal wording” in the retailer’s exchange policy on its website in July 2018, before the web domain was changed to its current one.
It added that Frankii Swim’s director claimed to have written the policy herself and did not intend to be misleading, but Ms Chopping pressed that ignorance 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 [or] repair depending on whether the problem is major or minor,” she said.
“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.”
The Perth Magistrates Court ordered Frankii Swim to pay a $30,000 fine and a further $546.30 in costs, in what Ms Chopping said should serve as a warning to all businesses to comply with consumer laws.
‘A bit harsh’
Approached for comment on the matter, Frankii Swim issued a brief statement in which it said it is “considering an appeal” against the penalty handed down.
“Frankii Swim strongly supports all forms of consumer protection. We have always put our customers’ interests first,” the retailer said.
“Unfortunately, the wording in the returns policy on our website was apparently not in accordance with the wording required by the law.
“Whilst we do think the penalty was a bit harsh, we will be considering an appeal.”
According to its website, Frankii Swim was established in 2013 and its products are worn by international celebrities including “the likes of Kylie Jenner [pictured], Rihanna and Bella Hadid”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.