It started out as a Shark Tank-backed success story of a young woman with $200,000 from high-profile investors Janine Allis and Andrew Banks, but a year later, Her Fashion Box founder Kath Purkis is fending off a warning from NSW Fair Trading that people should avoid her online fashion subscription business.
Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe said his company had received several complaints about herfashionbox.com and had difficulty making contact with Purkis.
As a result, they issued a “do not deal with” warning against the company yesterday.
“The complaints received mostly relate to accepting payment without supplying goods, not responding to requests to cancel subscriptions and not responding to contact from consumers about missing goods,” he said.
“In some cases, two monthly subscription payments were collected before any goods were delivered.”
Her Fashion Box had been charging subcribers $39.95 for a monthly fashion box containing beauty products and accessories, but recently changed the model to $59.95 for a quarterly box. The company has been the subject of complaints over several months.
In season 2 of Shark Tank, entrepreneurs Allis and Banks spent the $200,000 for 16% worth of the business, although at the time, Purkis admitted it was not making any money.
Purkis, 31, who launched her first fashion business, Le Black Book, in 2007, founded Sydney-based Her Fashion Box in January 2013. She claims the business ships globally to more than 100 countries.
But nine months after appearing on Shark Tank, in July this year, Her Fashion Box was the target of an A Current Affair expose in which subscribers aired their grievances, including orders that didn’t arrive and subscription cancellations that didn’t happen.
The consumer advocacy group Choice featured on the A Current Affair report saying it had a similar experience, with the box not turning up and then being charged for the next one.
The complaints also continued across social media:
One critic even set up a Facebook page titled “Her Fashion Fail”, which takes regular aim at the company.
NSW Fair Trading said anyone who has dealt with Her Fashion Box and is not satisfied should contact them on 13 32 20 or visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au to make a complaint.
* Disclosure: Business Insider is published by Allure Media, which owns the subscription fashion business Bellabox.