WHEN mother of one, Asya Moussawi from Hobart, received a package containing beauty products, she was initially surprised.
"I was surprised because I never order such products online because they are very cheap quality, and then I found an invoice for $67 to be paid within 14 days," Asya told Kidspot. "There was no phone number to contact them, only an email."
Assuming that it was an honest mistake, she sent the company an email.
LuxStyle International responded to Asya's email stating that they "do not send unsolicited shipments". They then suggested that if she wished to send back the product, she would need to pay for the return postage within 14 days.
"I was confused because this is a lot of money for a bunch of useless products, and I didn't ask for them in the first place," Asya said.
"So that was confusing and stressful because they sent me an email saying that they will send a debt collector unless I pay the money."
And then came their "generous" offer:
"Would you consider keeping the order if we would offer you a 50 per cent discount?" the email said.
"This certainly will save the time of returning the order and do note that after the discount, the price of the invoice would be close to or even less than the price you'd pay if you were to return the order," they suggested.
Asya called them out.
She responded stating that she would not be paying money for something she did not order in the first place. She told them that if they wanted their products back, they should be footing the bill.
After some back and forth, the scammers sent this final email cutting off all further contact with Asya and promising to continually hound the young mother via email for her "unpaid invoice" by way of "automated emails" and their "collection agency" if she failed to settle the debt.
This isn't the first time it's happened.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning to Australians about this very company after receiving 127 complaints in relation to their questionable sales methods.
"LuxStyle advertised its products on social media, directing potential customers to a website that did not display prices unless the consumer entered a mailing address and an email address … LuxStyle then posted the goods to consumers along with an invoice demanding payment and followed this up with subsequent invoices if consumers did not pay."
It doesn't take much to find dozens of other people who have fallen prey to these scammers, located all around the world. Some have shared emails with ultimatums, others claim to have found the locations of the company's Australian-based 'debt collectors' completely empty. Some have reportedly still been hounded even after making payment or returning the goods.
"The Australian Consumer Law provides specific protection to Australian consumers. If a business sends unsolicited goods to an Australian consumer, the consumer is not required to pay for the goods, nor is the consumer required to pay to return the goods," advises the ACCC.
The ACCC goes on to say that, consumers who have received goods from LuxStyle, or have been contacted by a debt collector about goods from LuxStyle, should lodge a report via the ACCC's website at www.accc.gov.au.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT AN UNSOLICITED SUPPLY OF GOODS
The ACCC advises that if you are in receipt of unsolicited goods or services:
- You are not required to pay for the products or services
- You are not liable for any loss or damage resulting from a supply of unsolicited services
- If you contact the business in writing, expressing that you do not want the products, then the business should recover the products within one month
- If you don't contact the business, then the business may recover the products within three months from the day after you received the products
- You cannot unreasonably refuse to allow the supplier to recover the products
- You may be liable to pay compensation if you wilfully damage the products during this period."
Asya has shared her story in the hope that other mums don't become prey to these online scammers.
"I want to say to all the mums out there, please don't share your personal information. Not even your email, your address, or anything. I was a victim just because I shared my name and address! So please be aware, this is really dangerous," she warns.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot.
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