Can you trust shopping on the internet?

Posted: 31st May 2017

PaymentGreat care is needed when shopping for goods and services on the internet and it is worth having the credentials of those you deal with professionally checked. In one case, a woman, Mrs Holt, who ran an online business called Bake a Cake Catering succeeded in defrauding more than 700 victims of over £100,000.

She accepted payments for weddings, birthdays and funerals, that did not materialise. Hundreds of clients were left disappointed after she used various excuses, including that she had been burgled or had been the victim of an arson attack.

Her victims were only partially compensated by website, Wowcher, through which they booked her services, including photo booths and chocolate fountains. Her clients were so outraged they started an online campaign trying to track her down at her home to demand their money back. She ultimately admitted three counts of fraud.

Mrs Holt was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and her mechanic husband, who admitted having helped her to launder the proceeds of her crimes, received a nine-month sentence.

The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal rejected arguments that the woman’s sentence should be reduced in the light of her childcare responsibilities. The Court noted that some of her victims were vulnerable and she had shown no sympathy for those whose celebrations she had ruined.