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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Consumer NZ

A Consumer NZ investigation into clothing retailer Shekou has found the company is attracting complaints from unhappy customers who have waited months for items to turn up and been told they’re not entitled to refunds.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the retailer’s terms and conditions state customers can’t cancel online orders and get a refund once their payment’s been processed.

“We think that risks misleading consumers about their rights. When the trader’s responsible for delivery, it must get items to you on time, or within a reasonable time if no date’s been agreed. If it fails to do so, you’re entitled to cancel and request your money back,” Duffy said.  

Companies that mislead consumers about their rights breach the Fair Trading Act and risk a fine of up to $600,000.

Shekou customers who have contacted Consumer NZ have complained of waiting for months to get products from the store.

Twenty-two complaints about the brand have been made to the Commerce Commission.

Duffy said Shekou’s advertising promoted its products as “ethical and sustainable”.

When Consumer NZ visited the company’s pop-up store in Wellington and asked which items were made from sustainably sourced fabrics, the sales rep replied, “I don’t think any of them are”.

One garment Consumer NZ purchased didn’t have a fibre content label, so shoppers couldn’t tell what fabric they were buying, Duffy said.

Fibre content labels are required on new clothing. Companies can be fined up to $30,000 if they don’t display them.

Shekou is owned by Brianna Ellin and Joshua Mittendorff. In response to Consumer NZ’s inquiries, Shekou said “nearly 30 percent” of its products were made from organic or recycled materials.

Consumer NZ advice for dissatisfied Shekou customers

If you’ve bought items from Shekou and it’s failed to deliver them within the expected time, you can cancel your order and ask for your money back. You don’t have to keep waiting.

If the store refuses and you paid by credit or debit card, contact your bank about a chargeback – a refund to your card. Alternatively, you can file a claim for a refund in the Disputes Tribunal.

If you think the store has misled you about your rights, make a complaint to the Commerce Commission.