WA mum claims au pair company has left her out of pocket

WA mum claims au pair company has left her out of pocket

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A Western Australian mum claims she is out of pocket $1000 after she paid Blossom Au Pair Service and allegedly received no service from the company.

And there are fears Lara Pimenta may be one of dozens of people who were allegedly scammed.

Western Australia Consumer Protection said 37 people had lodged complaints with the consumer watchdog about the same company.

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Lara Pimenta claims she contacted and paid for an Au Pair service and never heard anything from them.

Pimenta said her son Mateo’s father works fly-in-fly-out, and daycare wasn’t the right fit for the child.

Without family to help her, Pimenta said she became desperate and eventually found Blossom Au Pair Service Australia on Facebook.

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The business is registered in Australia to Reannon Jade Gibson, who has lived in France since 2019.

“Despite several Perth-based addresses being listed for the business, enquiries by Consumer Protection reveal Gibson has not returned to Australia since relocating to Europe in 2019,” a statement from the Consumer Protection said.

“I thought she really wanted to help me, and that’s the only reason I paid her before the service was given,” Pimenta said.

“She said she had three girls ready to start at the end of the week”.

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More than 30 people have lodged complaints with the Western Australia Consumer Protection about Blossom Au Pair Australia.

But Pimenta claims her $1000 upfront payment allegedly evaporated, with no service provided by the company.

In a statement, Reannon Jade Gibson told 9News her business model suffered during Covid.

“There was no intention to defraud,” Gibson said.

She apologised, and “acknowledged the inconvenience”.

“If any family feels like they have been wronged, please contact me for resolution,” she said.

Western Australia’s Consumer Protection Commissioner Trish Blake claims the number of alleged victims could be in the hundreds, with cases said to span the country.

“People are desperate for good child care at the moment, they pay the money, mostly on average $1000-1500 per person, and then from there on in, they are ghosted,” Blake said.

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Gibson disputed the number of complaints and the financial figures.

The business has been reported to the police.

“I would absolutely recommend that anybody steer well clear from Blossom Au Pairs,” Blake said.

To avoid falling victim to any scam, Consumer Protection advised customers to pay with a credit card rather than cash, rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, and to check online references.

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