Hear the one about the outdoor furniture that can't get wet?

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It came in a box. A big box. Mark and Angele Lepper were initially impressed by their outdoor furniture.

Mark and Angele Lepper spent $400 on outdoor furniture that rusted the first time it rained.
Source: Fair Go

"I thought wow .. it's just what I ordered,” Angele says and her husband Mark agrees as he sips a coffee on their new patio furniture.

“You can definitely sit on it, enjoy your coffee and read,” he comments.

The Leppers paid $400 including transport.

“It seemed like a really good deal you know, powder coated aluminium,” says Angele.

Mark and Angele say the first time it rained their outdoor furniture rusted. Then it rained again and "it just kept rusting".

"It's always going to look horrible because the rust is running down the sides," says Angele.

Angele contacted the supplier, Treasure Box and their customer service rep replied.

"Unfortunately I have been advised that the material is not rust proof and only rust resistant which means it could get rusted if it's exposed to rain or moisture which is out of our control."

Treasure Box says their "outdoor" furniture could rust if it gets wet. Angele was not amused.

"What the heck. If you can't put outdoor furniture outdoors, what's the point," she says.

Luckily Treasure Box then advised to buy some rust killer and Angele says she spent hours coating her chairs and then, not surprisingly, it rained again.

"I picked up one of the chairs and the rust you know the rusty water just poured out all over the pavers."

So she got back online. Treasure Box then offered a $30 refund. They also told her: "I have been advised that the product frame is power coated aluminium not steel. They are both metal but very much different elements and these two elements are still prone to rust/corrosion if they're exposed as oxygen and moisture or water."

Back outside where there is oxygen, moisture and water, Mark was perplexed.

"It's rusted and it's supposed to be aluminium. Aluminium doesn't rust, it might corrode but it doesn't rust as it has," he says.

Angele was sure she was right.

"The frame is steel. It's always going to rust," she says.

So Angele threatened Fair Go and the Commerce Commission, then another email arrived.

"We have broached the subject with the manufacturer and it does appear you are entirely correct and this item has a steel rather than aluminium frame."

Treasure Box says it relies on the manufacturers' information about the products they sell.

Operations manager Annie Zhou told Fair Go the products aren’t rust proof.

"What we can do is use rust resistant or rust proof material to prevent or to slower the rust but we can't 100 per cent guarantee those materials will not rust."

She says there’s no guarantee outdoor furniture will not rust if left outside.

"Rust resistant which means you can't stop the rust but you can slow the rust."

Treasure Box have apologised to the Leppers and paid them a full refund. They have also stopped selling the outdoor furniture.

Angele Lepper now has $400 to spend on new outdoor furniture and will wait till next summer to select something new to sit on while she enjoys her morning coffee.

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