'RIPPED OFF': 20 unhappy customers lash out at business
A GROUP of more than 20 unhappy customers are attempting to hunt down answers from a Byron Bay business after believing they have been "ripped off".
Individuals claim they have dished out thousands for a product they never received or received their product in a "damaged or incomplete state".
Rattan Collective has more than 32,000 Instagram followers and has advertised showroom viewings by appointment.
After a promised delivery of October 2017 Brydie Lane waited until June 2018 for the delivery of her bed - which "arrived in terrible condition and lacking a base".
Ms Lane claims she was informed that the business owner had cancer and her husband was taking care of the business when attempting to reach out to her.
Upon complaints about the condition of the product no enquires were responded to.
This prompted her to reach out on Instagram via a story to see if any others had dealt with the business and had "similar issues".
Her story was shared on to other profiles and from there she had people responding, with more and more people joining a group chat.
"This chat has now extended out to about 20 people, all in the same boat," Ms Lane said.
"Most have tried to contact their local consumer affairs but as we are all in different states most people haven't had luck with who the right consumer affairs office to contact. People have had responses from their consumer affairs, and none of them can get hold of her.
"The only advise they have suggested is to keep putting up the reviews."
Small business claims they are overwhelmed with orders
The Northern Star first contacted The Rattan Collective on October 3 via email (their only provided contact) when an initial story was being written.
Since then three additional emails have been sent, the latest on January 8 - along with attempts to contact them on Facebook.
While we have not received a direct response, an automated email reply advised they were a family business that worked "very hard to get all the orders out as soon as possible".
It advised the job is "a very labour intensive process (that) takes time" and the business "have been experiencing service interruptions" with Telstra.
"Low margins means low staff. Me. Responsible for completing everything from replying to your email, submitting orders, dealing with the manufacturer, shipping agents, customs, unloading containers, quality checks, organising freight quotes, packing for shipping, meeting couriers, bookwork and stuff. Lots of stuff. Amongst this chaos, I try to balance having a young family," the automated email reads.
"So please understand that there may be a delay in replying to your email due to the volume of enquiries we receive (SO many!) or that I'm currently unloading a 40ft container and organising deliveries."
'Very poor customer service at best'
Denni Closter, from Echuca in Victoria ordered a $1299 bed in June 2018 and claimed she was still awaiting delivery with two occurrences of contact since the order.
Danielle Nash, NSW purchased two beds in April 2017 for $2188 with promised June 2017 delivery but she claims the delivery date was changed eight times "due to various reasons including the company's manufacturer changing, sub-standard products being shipped from the supplier in Indonesia, exporting regulations not being met and lastly that the owner had been hospitalised for Cancer treatment".
"The beds arrived 14 months after the purchase date in the wrong colour, structurally sub-standard, with screws not aligning properly to ensure proper assembly."
Nese Oczelik, Greenvale Victora ordered a bed for $1919 in September last year which was received in October. But Ms Ozcelik claims the bed was "faulty" with incorrectly aligned screw holes, and broke when her child sat on it. She claimed she has asked for a refund but has not yet received one.
As of January 8 2019 on on productreview.com.au, The Rattan Collective had 21 'terrible' reviews, one 'bad', one 'ok' and two 'excellent'.
Chris Vassili from Melbourne posted on productreview.com.au he had been stripped of more than $2000 and described it as "very poor customer service at best".
He said he was still holding out hope for the product which was promised in November after ordering in May.
According to NSW Fair Trading, traders subject to 10 or more complaints in a calendar month would be published on the Complaints Register.
A spokeswoman for Fair Trading NSW said: "Fair Trading's advice to customers who are dissatisfied in their dealings with The Rattan Collective is to contact the trader and try to resolve the matter in the first instance.
"Customers who are unable to resolve their issues with the trader are advised to lodge a written complaint with Fair Trading at ww.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au."