- Melbourne bride’s dress distress over missing ‘priceless’ bridal gown
- By PETER MICKELBUROUGH
- Contributed by: Penny ( 1 article in 2017 )
Angelica and Nicholas Tomelty on their wedding day.
ANGELICA Tomelty is a bride without a wedding dress.
While she has pictures of her special day the "priceless" gown she helped design went to the dry cleaners and never came back.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard the gown vanished after it was dropped off at the Brown Gouge outlet at Brimbank shopping centre for a cleaning quote on February 24 last year.
The store is a "dry shop" with items usually sent to Brown Gouge's North Melbourne cleaning facility.
Ms Tomelty said she tried repeatedly to collect her dress but after 4 months of being given the run-around the store closed.
It was then she also learned the store had been operated by a franchisee Asiatic International Pty Ltd. The company was deregistered in February this year.
Centre management directed Tomelty to John Zhong, the Director of Brown Gouge Pty Ltd, which held a lease with the shopping centre but had licensed the premises to the franchisee under a separate agreement. Ms Campana found Mr Zhong tried to locate the dress.[answer given?]
Ms Tomelty told VCAT she had been robbed of the "priceless" sentimental value of the gown, which she designed and had made with lace especially imported from Turkey at a cost of $5,220 the amount of compensation she sought from Brown Gouge.
“While she has pictures and memories of wearing her hand made gown on her wedding day, the item has gone missing after being placed with Brown Gouge for dry-cleaning,” Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Kylea Campana found.
However, in a further blow to the dressless bride, Ms Campana dismissed Ms Tomelty’s claim for compensation from Brown Gouge.
She accepted that as Ms Tomelty’s contract was with the store franchisee — a company called Asiatic International Pty Ltd — Brown Gouge, as franchisor, had no legal responsibility for the gown.
Ms Campana found that "as unfair as it may seem" without guarantees under consumer laws holding franchisors responsible for the activities of franchisees, Brown Gouge was not responsible for the dress.
“Even though the receipt (for the dress) says Brown Gouge and the store says Brown Gouge it is just a technicality because the ABN on the receipt was Asiatic’s,” a frustrated Ms Tomelty told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“I would tell people never to go to Brown Gouge because this technicality means nobody is ever going to take responsibility.
“I went to Brown Gouge because it is a well-known dry cleaning service and I’m upset with the way they handled things.
“My trust was put in a 100-year-old brand and I expected a service like everyone else does when you go to a shop and hand over money or something of yours for a service to be done.”
Mr Zhong told the Sunday Herald Sun he had "no idea" what had happened to the dress.
"I called the police and they didn't want to be involved", he said.
Ms Tomelty said the VCAT case had cost her $500 and left her with little hope of seeing her dress again.
Ms Tomelty told VCAT she had been robbed of the “priceless” sentimental value of the gown, which she designed and had made with lace especially imported from Turkey at a cost of $5,220 — the amount of compensation she sought from Brown Gouge.
Herald Sun print edition 17 Sep 2017