Families Warned Against Au Pair Company

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Au pair provider leaves WA families more than $37,000 out of pocket
  • 37 consumers with complaints against Blossom Au Pair Australia since 2019
  • Warning for consumers to exercise caution before engaging with this business

Consumer Protection is urging Western Australian families to avoid doing business with an au pair placement provider that has allegedly taken $37,219 from unhappy customers.

Nineteen complaints have been received by Consumer Protection about Reannon Jade Gibson, trading as Blossom Au Pair Australia (Blossom) in the past five years. An additional 18 disgruntled customers were identified during the course of conducting enquiries. Most complaints relate to little to no service being provided once payment is made.

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

On its website, Blossom claims to provide an “individually-tailored support system” to help consumers find the “ideal au pair” for their families.

Blossom also advertises on Facebook. Consumers are generally contacted directly by Blossom after enquiring about au pair services in private Facebook groups being run by Ms Gibson. At first, Ms Gibson is highly responsive, assuring consumers there are many au pair candidates that can be presented for consideration once the full fee of up to $1,545 is made via bank transfer.

After the payment goes through, communication from Ms Gibson slows or stops altogether. Some consumers who received candidate profiles claim the au pairs offered were unsuitable, either due to minimal experience with children, no driver’s licence or only being available for a short time due to visa constraints.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake urges families seeking au pair services to avoid dealing with Ms Gibson or Blossom.

“We believe there is a risk for families who pay upfront for au pair services with this business, so we are urging consumers to exercise caution and consider engaging other providers instead,” Ms Blake said.

“Of concern is Ms Gibson and Blossom’s reluctance to cooperate with our attempts to resolve the complaints – either refunds are promised but never come, or Ms Gibson refuses to respond to Consumer Protection at all.

“Once payment is accepted, businesses have an obligation under Australian Consumer Law to deliver the goods or services within a reasonable time or offer a refund.

“Paying upfront via bank transfer puts consumers at risk of losing their money if a business fails to deliver on what was promised. That’s why we only ever recommend paying a small deposit upfront via a secure payment method, like credit card, which offers the possibility of a chargeback.”

Consumers who have had unsatisfactory dealings with Ms Gibson or Blossom are urged to lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au

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