Consumer NZ advises people to avoid dating site Private Event (privateevent.co.nz).
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Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says Private Event is run by the owner of a company called Get Design and Sales that left consumers thousands of dollars out of pocket.
In April, Consumer NZ issued a warning about Get Design and Sales after receiving complaints from consumers who had paid for goods but not received them. Get Design and Sales advertises kitset cabins through econobach.co.nz, kiwi-built.co.nz and mydiy.co.nz.
“Despite assurances to refund customers, company owner Emma Gestro has failed to pay back money owed and comply with her obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act,” Ms Chetwin says.
The Private Event website promises “a discrete and secure way” of dating. Customers pay a $50 annual subscription and a booking fee for each event attended. Terms and conditions claim Private Event reserves the right to change its prices without notice, and state use of the website and attendance at events is at customers’ “own risk”.
Ms Chetwin says the clauses potentially breach the unfair terms provisions of the Fair Trading Act. “Companies that attempt to change significant terms without notice or limit their liability for providing services with reasonable care and skill risk misleading consumers and falling foul of the act.”
In correspondence with Consumer NZ, Ms Gestro said revenue from Private Event would be used to pay back Get Design and Sales clients.
“Ms Gestro’s track record gives us no confidence this will happen and we advise consumers to steer clear of the Private Event dating site,” Ms Chetwin says.
Ms Gestro was previously a director and joint shareholder of Magenta Marketing, which operated in liquidation from 1994 to 2002 before being removed from the Companies Register. During that period, she was also prosecuted for fraud and required to pay back $13,000 to a former employer.
The Private Event website was registered in February by Grant Hulena, a joint shareholder of Get Design and Sales until March 2017. Mr Hulena was previously the owner of Kiwikitsets North Shore, which was put into liquidation in 2013.