FOUR people from Perth have fallen victim to an Italian conman selling fake Italian leather jackets from the back of a car.
The shoppers, drawn in by the promise of designer labels and a bargain price, were approached by the man in Cottesloe, Claremont, Mt Lawley and Swanbourne.
The Cottesloe victim was told by the man that he was lost and needed directions to the airport.
As a thank you, he offered the jackets at a ‘discounted’ prices.
The scammer also asked for some money to buy his son a laptop.
The bargain hunter went to his bank, followed by the scammer, who was paid $1100 for eight jackets which in a shocking twist, were found not to be made from genuine Italian leather.
Another leather goods connoisseur was scammed in Mount Lawley in a similar way but was told that the man had to buy a computer for his daughter.
They were followed to the back by the conman and ended up paying $800 for seven jackets which were confirmed not to be made in Italy.
Another consumer was approached in Claremont by the man who said the jackets were made by Versace and gave him a card with the business name of “Design Versace” from Florence and Milan.
The consumer bought six jackets for $900 after withdrawing the money from a nearby ATM.
He later discovered a tag inside the jackets saying ‘made in China’.
A fourth consumer-reported purchasing five jackets for $960 and a fifth consumer was approached in Swanbourne by the man who claimed to represent “Gian Fashion Designer” and tried to sell the jackets for $2,500 each, but the consumer declined the offer.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the ‘leather jacket scam’ has been around for many years but still proves profitable for travelling conmen.
“These silver-tongued salesmen are usually well dressed, claim to be of Italian origin and are convincing in their sales pitch. They frequently have some story about needing directions or having attended trade/fashion shows and having excess stock,” Mr Hillyard said.
“These charlatans often claim the jackets are worth in excess of $1000 but you can usually purchase them for a few hundred dollars as they are often made in Asia from cheap materials such as vinyl.
“Consumer Protection had one set of jackets tested in the past and found they were made of sheep hide and PVC, and had a wholesale value of around $50-$100. Consumers should always be highly sceptical of any unsolicited offer, especially those that are urgent and require payment in cash.
“Apart from making false claims about the origin and quality of the product, these salesmen are also breaking consumer law by not providing a ten business day cooling off period for unsolicited sales valued at more than $100.
“Sellers who breach the Australian Consumer Law and misrepresent products as being something they are not, face fines of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1million for companies.”
Suspected travelling conman details, such as offender descriptions, vehicle types and registrations and personal or business names used, can be reported to Consumer Protection by calling 1300 30 40 54 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.