Acne treatment leads to unhappy customer paying €500 for ‘free items’

The Consumer Claims Tribunal found that the customer had been misled by the shop assistant

The man ended up paying €750 for what he thought was a €250 product
The man ended up paying €750 for what he thought was a €250 product

A cosmetic shop which misled one of its customers into buying €500-worth of products has been named and shamed by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA).

The authority issued a statement about the case after the shop – Beauty Bar Venofys, in Valletta – failed to honour a decision delivered by the Consumer Claims Tribunal.

According to the authority, a customer had been approached in the street by one of the shop’s salesmen, who convinced him to buy a €250 acne cream from the shop.

The consumer accepted to purchase the product, however during the transaction the salesman “added other products”. The MCCAA said that the customer had been given the impression that the extra products were being given to him free of charge.

Rather than €250, the customer ended up paying €750 for his cream and upon realising, asked the salesman for his money back.

“Initially, the shop accepted the consumer’s request to return the products and to refund the extra money paid but this solution never materialised,” the MCCAA said.

In deciding the case, the tribunal said that there was an element of confusion surrounding the conditions of the actual transaction, but said that it was clear that the consumer was willing to buy a product that cost €250.

“As the customer was about to pay, at the very last moment, the salesman began mentioning other products which he included in the sales transaction,” the MCCAA said, adding that he had only realised afterwards that he had been misled.

The tribunal noted that “this was not right” since in such transactions, “everything must be made clear from the very beginning”.

“The buyer must know exactly what he is buying and how much he will be paying for it,” the MCCAA said.

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