Leather Jacket Scam
Update 27 August 2015: New intelligence provided to Consumer Protection indicates that leather jacket scammers are in Perth after a trip to Indonesia. One of the men could be the individual mentioned in our July warning. We have also had a report of two men, who claim to be Italian nationals, offering jackets for sale to shoppers in Nedlands.
Update 30 July 2015: Reports received in the last two weeks indicate that a man with an Italian accent, going by the name of Mr Antonio, has been selling jackets, which he claims to be leather and made by the designer Giorgio Armani.
One man was approached by ‘Mr Antonio’ at a café in Claremont and got chatting as they were both Italian. The man paid $2,000 in cash for clothing but later called Consumer Protection to report that he thought the jacket was fake and made of PVC.
Other people report being approached in the Western suburbs or South Perth by a ‘Mr Antonio’ who claims to be from Milan and says he works in fashion/has been at a fashion show and wants directions to the airport. These people were offered jackets/coats out of the boot of a white SUV.
Psst . . . want to buy a leather jacket on the cheap? Not from these itinerant traders you don’t.
Consumers are being approached at shopping centre car parks, in the street, at petrol stations and even at traffic lights to buy so-called designer label Italian leather jackets.
The silver-tongued salesmen are usually well dressed and of Italian origin. They frequently have some story about needing directions or having attended trade shows and having excess stock.
These charlatans often claim the jackets are worth in excess of $1000 but you can purchase them for a few hundred dollars.
The jackets, however, are worth far less than that and are often made in Asia from cheap materials such as vinyl.
Consumer Protection had one set of jackets tested and found they were made of sheep hide and PVC, and had a wholesale value of around $50-$100.
Consumers should always be highly skeptical of any unsolicited offer, especially those that are urgent and require payment in cash.
The Australian Consumer Law (WA) (ACL) provides consumers with protection against unsolicited sales.
Any unsolicited sale worth more than $100 is subject to a 10-day cooling-off period and no money can be taken during this time. Consumers must also be provided with mandatory documentation about their rights to rescind the contract.
Sellers who breach the ACL and misrepresent products as being something they are not face fines of "up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1million for companies".
In 2005, more than 200 jackets were seized in co-operation with the Australian Customs Service and refunds of $60,000 were made to duped consumers.